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Full text of "Report on the migration of birds"

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HARVARD UNIVERSITY 




LIBRARY 



OF THE 



Museum of Comparative Zoology 



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THE ZOOLOGIST. 



THIRD SERIES. 



Vol. IV.] 



MAY, 18S0. 



[No. 41 



REPORT ON THE JJIGRATION OF BIRDS ^ THE 
' AUTUMN OF 1879.f '' 

By John A. Ha ryie-Bu own and John Cordeaux. 

EAST COAST OF SCOTLAND. 

Pkinted forms of enquiiy and letters of instructions were 
sent to twenty-six lighthouses on the east coast of Scotland. 
Thirteen stations have sent in returns, and thirteen have either 
sent in none, or have returned blank forms, owing to unusual 
scarcity of birds. The stations from which co-operation was asked 
are the following, commencing with the most northerly. Those 
from which returns have been received are marked with a *. 

*Nortb Unst, Shetland ; white and red sectors, fixed. Robert Burnett. 

Whalsey Skerries, Shetland ; white, revolving every minute. 

Bressay Sound, Shetland ; red and white alternately, rev. every minute. 
*Sumburgh Head, Shetland ; white, fixed. William Anderson. 
*North Ronaldshay, Orkney ; white, flash every 10 seconds. John Tulloch. 

Start Point, Orkney ; red, fixed. 
^i-Auskerry, Orkney ; white, fixed. Charles C. Irvine. 

+ I would here direct attention to another paper of mine bearing upon this 
subject, which was read at the meeting of the Glasgow Natural History Society on 
Sept. 30th, 1879, and forms part of its * Proceedings ' for tlie Session 1879-80, now 
in the press. It forms a Report upon Migration of 1878, Journal of the severe 
winter of 1879-80, and Observations on the eftects of the weather, under the different 
species of Mammals and Birds noticed. I read a similar Eeport on 1879-80 at the 
meeting of the same Society in March last. — J. A. H.-B. 



162 THE ZOOLOGISt. 

*Hoy Sound (Low), Orkney ; white, 6xed. Alex. Harp. 

,, (High) Orkney; red and white sectors, fixed. W. Gordon. 

Cantick Head, Orkney ; white, revolving every minute. 
*Pentland Skerries, Orkney ; white, fixed. D. M'Donald. 
*Dunuet Head, Caithness; white, fixed. George M'Lachlan. 

Holborn Head, Caithness ; white and red, flash every 10 sec. D. Charleson. 
*Noss Head, Caithness ; white and red, revolving every i m. Alex. Creig. 
*Tarbet Ness, E. Ross-shire ; white, int. visible every '2^ m. W. Davidson. 

Cromarty, E. Cromarty ; red, fixed. Robert S. Ritson. 

Chanonry Point, Elgin ; white and red sectors, revolving every minute. 

Covesea Skerries, Elgin; white and red sectors, revolving every minute. 

Kinnaird Head, Aberdeen ; white and red sectors, fixed. F. Harvey. 

Buchan Ness, Aberdeen; white, flash every 5 seconds. Thomas Gallie. 
*Girdleness, Aberdeen ; white, fixed. Wm. Gulcher. 

Montrosewess, Forfar ; white, fixed. Patrick E. Reid. 
*Iiell Rock, off Coast of Fife ; white and red revolving. James Jack. 
*lsle of May, Firth of Forth ; white, fixed. Joseph Agnew. 
*Tnch Keith, Finh of Forth; white, revolving every minute. R. Grierson. 

St. Abbs Head, Berwick ; white, flash every 10 seconds. Robert Seater. 

A general scarcity of birds is reported by a great majority of 
the observers on our east coast, which partly accounts for the 
absence of returns from several stations. Those sent in have been 
carefully prepared by the various reporters so far as materials 
allowed. Excluding Swans, Geese, Ducks, and Rock-birds, notes 
have been made on about twenty-eight different species. 

SEPAKATE REPORT OF EACH SPECIES OBSERVED. 

At North Ronaldshay, an Owl — species unknown, but probably 
the Short-eared Owl, Asio accijntrinus — was seen on Nov. 3rd, 
flying south, at 10 a.m.; and at Dunnet Head a Horned Owl, also 
probably of the same species, struck three times, but got away. 
This was at 6 p.m. 

From Pentland Skerries we tave all the records of hawks. 
Two early records (July 7th and 14th) may refer to autumn 
migration or not. Thus, " a black hawk " was seen on July 7th 
at 3 p.m., and on the 14th another of the same at 7 p.m. On 
Sept. 17th one hawk struck at 11.30 p.m. The species is probably, 
the Sparrowhawk, Accijnter nisiis. 

Accounts forwarded by other correspondents, however, show 
that Hobbies {Falco suhbuteOy Linn."}, visited the Lewis in some 



REPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 163 

numbers this year.t At Sumburgli Head the appearance of 
a White-tailed Eagle is recorded, but is only of local interest, 
as these birds are known to breed near that station. That a 
migration, however, does take place amongst Eagles, and mostly 
of this species, is undoubted. Mr. D. Dewar, an experienced 
ornithologist, writes me : — '* Every winter, for this longtime back, 
when we have a strong east wind in November, Eagles and Bough- 
legged Buzzards appear over Loch Tay. In November, this j^ear, 
I saw four Eagles together, all White -tailed, and three Kough- 
legged Buzzards along with them." 

Swift, Cypselus apus. — Only one at Sumburgh Head on 
May 25th, doubtless on the spring migration. Two were seen at 
10 a.m., wind light S.W., breeze and haze. " Swifts, however, do 
not breed in Shetland " (vide Saxby's * Birds of Shetland,' p. 147). 

Swallow, Hirimdo rustica. — I have returns from four stations, 
Sumburgh Head, Auskerry, Tarbet Ness, and Isle of May. At 
the northernmost station (Sumburgh Head) " a number were seen 
flying about," at 11 am., wind at W.S.W., fresh and hazy. But 
this record was on June 12th, so probably refers to the spring 
migration. Their earliest appearance noted is August 21st, when 
four struck at Auskerry at 1 a.m., wind S.E., strong with fog; the 
latest Oct. 27th, when two were killed at Tarbet Ness at 7.10 p.m., 
wind N.W., light with fog. This shows migration between Aug. 
21st and Oct. 27th. A ''rush" appears to have taken place at 
the Isle of May on Sept. 19th, at 2 a.m., wind light E. with fog, 
when a flock of young birds was seen and four of them were 
wounded against the glass. Swallows migrate in August and 
September with an E. to S.E. wind, light to strong. In October 
my only record at Tarbet Ness gives wind N.W., light with fog. 
When the wind has been N.W., S.E. or E. there has been fog; 
when, in summer, at Sumburgh Head, W.S.W., there has been 
haze and rain. The last Swallow was seen in Berwicksliire by 
Mr. J. Hardy on the 30th Sept. 1879. 

Martin, Hirundo urbica. — From Pentland Skerries one record 
in which this species is distinguished from the Swallow. On 
August 25th one struck at 2.30 p.m. during a light W. wind 
with haze. The last was seen in Berwickshire by Mr. J. Hardy 
on the 3rd October, 1879. 

t I have referred more fully to this in my "Report on Scottish Ornithology" for 
the Nat. Hist. Soc. of Glasgow for 1879-80,— J. A, H,-B, 



164 THIi ZOOLOGIST. 

Wren, Troglodytes eitropceas. — At North Ronaldshay five seen 
during the day-time on Nov. 21st, fresh breeze (direction not 
noted) with haze. Reported as usually appearing in large 
numbers at Auskerry, but the above-mentioned were the only 
ones seen. 

GoLDCREST, Rcgulus cristatus. — The almost total absence of 
this species is specially remarked at the Isle of ^lay. Usually they 
are abundant. These birds were decidedly scarce in Scotland 
throughout the summer. 

Robin, Erythaca ruhecida. — Onl}' two records of this species 
on the east coast. At Tarbet Ness one was killed on August Gth 
at 10 p.m., wind light E. breeze, fog and rain ; and at Inch Keith 
one struck on August 10th at 11.30 p.m., in similar weather, but 
with wind light W. 

Whkatear, Saxicola oenanthe. — The most northerly station 
of the two recorded is Pentland Skerries, and to the south the 
Bell Rock. Between Sept. 7tli— when great numbers struck and 
were lost at the latter station, and birds continued passing or 
flying round lantern between midnight and dawn, wind S.E. and 
variable, fog and haze — and Sept. 17th, Wheatears or " Stone- 
chats " were on passage. If any rush took place it was between 
Sept. 7tli and lltli, on which latter clay fourteen were seen and 
two killed. Winds veered from S. and S.E. on. Sept. 9th and 7th, 
to W. and S.W. on the 11th, 13th and 17th. All the birds passed 
at night between 8 p.m. and dawn. 

Titmice. — At only one station were Titmice observed on our 
east coast, viz., at the Isle of May, were some were seen on 
SejDt. 15tli at 10 a.m., wind light W. with haze. From Auskerry, 
however, there is the general report that they are in most years 
abundant there, though none have been seen this season. 

Song Thrush, Tardus musicus. — Recorded from a number of 
stations from North Ronaldsha}^ in the north to Auskerry, Pent- 
land Skerries, Dunnet Head, Noss Head, Girdleness, and Bell 
Rock in the south. The greatest numbers noted were at Pent- 
land Skerries, but great numbers also were noted at North 
Ronaldshay and the Bell Rock, where many " struck and were 
lost." Their earliest appearance recorded is on Sej^t. ICth, when 
four struck at Noss Head between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., wind S., 
moderate with haze. The latest date is Oct. 25th, when numbers, 
along with Blackbirds, struck at North Ronaldshay. The time 



REPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 1G5 

thus occupied was from Sept. 16th to Oct. 25th. A rush took 
place during October, and the greatest rush, perhaps, between 
Oct. 14th and 25th. At North Ronaldshay, on Oct. 1st, numbers 
struck, along with Blackbirds, and were fl.ying about all niglit. 
Others seen at Girdleness, the Bell Rock, at Pentland Skerries, and 
Dunnet Head. Thrushes migrated w^hen the wind was between 
E. through S.E., S.S.W. to N.W., but i:)rincipally when southerly. 
Fog, haze, and rain on all the dates given. Time of migration, 
after dark and before dawn at all dates. 

Blackbird, Turdus merida. — Appeared at North Ronaldshay 
and the Bell Rock between Oct. 1st and Nov. 25th. A rush during 
this time recorded on three dates: — Oct. 1st, "Numbers flying 
about all night," at North Ronaldshay, wind S.E., strong, "along 
with Thrushes." Oct. 14th, four (two males and two females) 
killed ; number flying about between 8 a.m. and dawn ; wind 
N.E., fresh, with haze and rain. Nov. 25th, numbers, along with 
Thrushes, flying about all night ; wind light E. breeze, haze. 

Ring Ouzel (or "Mountain Blackbird"), Turdus torqiiatiis. — 
Reported from Sumburgh Head only, where one struck at 4 a.m. ; 
wind light N. at 5 a.m., S.W. gale at 4 p.m.; weather clear. A 
number of the same species were seen in the country about the 
same time, and supposed to be young birds. At Auskeriy, where 
they generally pass in large numbers, none were observed. 

Besides the above, "large Thrushes," probabl}^ Fieldfares,! 
passed or were caught at Auskerry, in October; four on the 15th 
between 1 and 4 a.m., wind light N., clear; six on the 16th between 

2 and 4 a.m., wind S.S.W., strong, haze ; and two on the 22nd at 

3 a.m., wind strong S.W., and haze. Large numbers struck the 
lantern at the Bell Rock, and were lost in the sea between mid- 
night and dawn on Sept. 7th, and again at the same station on 
Oct. 14th, between 3 a.m. and dawn. These were mixed in flocks 
of Blackbirds, Thrushes, and " various " other species. 

The great scarcity of Thrushes in Scotland all summer was 
caused by the severe winter of 1878-79 and late spring of 1879, 
a consequent "crowding down" upon low^er latitudes taking place 
during that breeding season. I have referred very fully to this in 
my first Report on Scottish Ornithology for the Natural History 
Society of Glasgow for 1878-79 (now in MS., ready for press), 

+ Aftei'wards itlentified as such l»y the head, wings and tail sent in later com- 
munication. 



166 THE ZOOLOGIST. 

read Sept. 30th, 1879. This scarcity is still felt. In the birch- 
woods of the west coast I saw small flocks on Oct. 28th, 1879. 

Rook, Coitus fnigilcgus. — At Suiiiburgli Head numbers were 
seen about 9 am on Nov. 2nd, wind N.N.W., strong to fresh, with 
sleet and snow showers. "Hooks do not breed in Shetland, but 
are often seen in the spring time, but very seldom in the fall, 
crossing, as is supposed, between Norwa}' and Scotland." At 
Dunnet Head about 100 Rooks, mostl}' young birds, were seen 
at 12 noon, with fresh breeze from S.E. to S.W. 

Starling, Stiirmis vulgaris. — '^oted at only two stations. At 
Pentland Skerries on October 19th six struck between 6 p.m. and 
4 a.m., wind S.W. and rain; on the 26th one at 8 p.m., wind W., 
and clear; and on Nov. 20th two at 6 a.m., wind S.W., strong and 
haze. At Dunnet Head, on Oct. 20th, seven struck and four were 
killed at niglit, wind N.W. and N.E., haze. 

Siskin, Carchielis spinus, — At Inch Keith three young birds 
struck at 1 a.m. on Sept. 16th, wind light W., fog. 

Lark, Alauda arvensls. — Pretty generally recorded, but scarcer 
than usual; the northernmost station Pentland Skerries. They 
are also noted at Tarbet Ness. and Girdleness. The most counted 
was thirty-six at Pentland Skerries between 5 p.m. and 4 a.m. on 
October 13th- 14th, and the next largest number was sixteen, on 
Sept. 15th, between 8 and 10 p.m. Their earliest appearance 
was on August 16th, when four struck at midnight at Tarbet 
Ness, wind light S.E. and haze; the latest Nov. 19th, when nine 
struck (four killed) at the same station at 8.10 p.m., wind S.W., 
light and haze. The time occupied is thus between August 16th 
and Nov. 19th. A rush took place between Oct. 13th and 14th, 
or say about the middle of October, and again about November 
19th at Pentland Skerries, Tarbet Ness, and Girdleness. 

Larks migrated or came most under notice in S.W. winds, but 
also in S.E., N.E. (as at Pentland Skerries, when thirty-six were 
seen), and W. Our data from thd* Scotch coasts are too limited 
this year to admit of conclusions, unaided by the English returns. 
Haze and fog are recorded on all the days noticed. All records 
give hours of passing at night from 6 p.ni. in October, and from 
8 10 p.m. in November till 4 or 5 a.m. 

Woodpecker, Picus {major?). — At Inch Keith two struck and 
an adult bird was killed at 9 p.m. on Sept. 15th, wind W., light 
breeze and fog. 



EEPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 167 

Lapwing, Vanellus cristatus. — Reported to have left the 
vicinity of Hoy Sound in the third week of September. At 
Auskerry thirty or forty were seen about 3 p.m. on Sept. 11th, wind 
light W. and haze, and at Tarbet Ness a large flock was seen at 
11 a.m., when the wind was N.W., light and haze on Oct. 12th. 

Plover, Charadriiis pluvialis. — At Pentland Skerries a flock 
was seen at 1.15 a.m. on Sept. 3rd, wind S.W., almost calm, with 
fog, and another flock at 2 p.m. on Dec. 7th, wind N.W. and clear. 
These represent earliest and latest dates. At Dunnet Head about 
IGO Plovers passed with S.E. wind and rain. At Tarbet Ness a 
large flock seen at 4 p.m., wind N.W., fresh and haze on Oct. 12th. 
Plovers remained unusually late on the high hills of Perthshire 
this autumn. On Oct. 15tli I saw three on the hills around 
Glen Qaeich, and two flocks on the 16th. On the 14th was a 
snowstorm and ice a quarter of an inch in thickness on hill 
puddles. 

Heron, Ardea cinerea. — At Girdleness on October 23rd two 
Herons were seen at 3.30 p.m., wind S.W., clear. 

Curlew, Niimenius arquata. — Onl}^ three records, one of which 
no doubt refers to local migration or to late spring or summer. 
On June 29th a flock was seen at Pentland Skerries at 7.40 p.m. 
At Sumburgh Head, on July 30th, "a number crying very loud" 
were heard about 11 a.m., wind W.S.W. (gale on Aug. 1st), with 
haze and rain. At Pentland Skerries, on Dec. 11th, a flock was 
noted at 7.40 j).m. during light W. wind and clear. Did the migra- 
tion last from July 30th to Dec. 11th ? Curlews appear to migrate 
from early dawn to dusk, as far as records show. These birds were 
nearly a month late in arriving on our coast in Stirlingshire. 

Sandpiper (sp. ?). — At Pentland Skerries three struck and 
were killed ; wind strong S.W. and haze. 

Woodcock, Scolopax rusticola. — The most northerly station 
was North Ronaldshay. Thence southward, but nowhere in large 
numbers, seen or struck at Auskerry, Pentland Skerries, Dunnet 
Head, Tarbet Ness, Girdleness, and Isle of May. The largest 
number seen at any station at the same time being five at Tarbet 
Ness on December 3rd. A single bird is noted at Dunnet Head 
as early as Sept. 17th. None again till Oct. 15th, when one was 
killed at North Ronaldshay at 9 p.m., wind N.E., moderate, with 
sleet. The latest recorded was Dec. 3rd, when, as related above, 
five were seen at Tarbet Ness at 11.30 a.m., wind strong W., with 



1G8 THE ZOOLOGIST. 

snow. The length of time occupied in migration was between 
Sept. 17th and Dec. 3rd. "Rushes" of migrants took place 
between Oct. 15th and 21st, but the reports are very meagre, 
being in most cases instanced by single birds striking at North 
Ronaldshay, Auskerry, Pentland Skerries, and Isle of May. Again 
a rush between Nov. 11th and 19th at North Ronaldshay and 
Girdleness; and again between Dec. 1st and 8rd at North Ronalds- 
hay and Tarbet Ness. In two cases only have more than single 
birds been recorded. The migration took place principally when 
the wind was between S. and W. ; but I have records of their 
flights also in strong N. wind with snow, on Dec. 1st, at Tarbet 
Ness; in N.E., moderate breeze with sleet, on Oct. 15th at North 
Ronaldshay; and again, with an E. light breeze and clear, on 
Dec. 21st, at the same station. When the wind has been S.W. or 
W., there has been fog or haze ; when S., rain, as in November, on 
the 14th and loth. Woodcocks appear to migrate principally at 
night, and are observed during the hours between evening dusk 
and morning grey, or, in other words, between 7.30 p.m. and 
5 a.m. Exceptions occur, as at 11 a.m. at North Ronaldsha}^ 
11.30 a.m. at Tarbet Ness, 2 p.m. at North Ronaldshay, and 3.30 
p.m. at Girdleness; these last being all in daylight. A flight 
came inland in Stirlingshire about Nov. 22nd, on which day a 
party of five guns, of which party I was one, killed eighteen in 
Torwood Covers. 

Snipe, Gallinago scolopacina. — At the Isle of May one was 
seen at 10 a.m. on August Otli, with light S.E. wind, fog and rain. 
Snipe scarce or much scattered, owing to wet season. Entirely 
disappeared from inland localities when the hard frost of beginning 
of December set in, and few returned all winter. 

Water Rail, Rallus aquaticus. — One record at Girdleness; 
on August 17th, one was seen at 8 p.m., wind E. with rain. 

Grey Geese. — At Dunnet Head, on Sept. 3rd, thirteen Grey 
Geese were seen " going north" at 3 p.m., wind S.E., fresh, haze 
and rain. 

Bernacle Goose, Bemicla brenta. — At Dunnet Head a mixed 
flock of old and young (twenty-five) seen going W. on Sept. 7th, 
and five more on the 14th, during the day, wind light W. Fog on. 
the 7th; clear on the 14th. Anatidce were a month earlier in 
appearing on Loch Tay in the autumn of 1879. Geese were 
reported as unusually abundant from many localities. 



REPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 169 

Swans. — Three Swans seen at North Ronaldshay flying south 
at 2.30 p.m., with W.N.W. fresh wind and clear, and again at 
same place at 9.30 a.m., on Nov. 27th, swimming on the water; 
wind strong N.E., and clear. At Pentland Skerries eight were 
seen at 2 p.m. on Oct. 26th ; wind light W. and clear. At Dunnet 
Head three old and one young seen going S.W., at 1 p.m., breeze 
light, on Sept 14th ; and three old birds again on Sept. 22nd. 

Ducks.— At Tarbet Ness a large flock of ducks passed inland 
at 10 a.m., with a N. gale and snow, on Nov. 12th. At Girdle- 
ness, two ducks seen at 4.40 a.m., wind S.W., and haze, on 
Oct. 16th. At Tarbet Ness a large flock seen at 9.15 a.m., wind 
W., strong and snow, on Dec. 5th. At Dunnet Head seven ducks 
(Widgeon) stayed on the lake three days from Oct. 25th ; arrived 
with W. to N.W. breeze and cloudy. 

Guillemot, Uria troile. — At Pentland Skerries a flock seen 
on June 25th, at 7.15 p.m.; wind E.N.E., and light haze. (Com- 
pare with notes on W. coast at Cape Wrath and elsewhere.) 

Puffin, Mormon fratercula. — At North Unst innumerable 
Puffins seen on evening of April 24th. 

Common Skua (or "Bonxie"), Stercorarius catarrhactes. — At 
North Unst, usually appear about middle of April. " We do not 
see more than six or eight in a season." 

Petrel, Thalassidroma pelagica. — Seen at North Unst in 
August, and at Dunnet Head on Oct. 10th, wind strong W., and 
haze, at 11 p.m. 

Tern, Sterna. — Only one record. One struck at Pentland 
Skerries at 8.30 p.m. on Sept. 8th ; wind strong S., and fog. 

Terns always appear upon our Stirlingshire coast the end of 
August and beginning of September, remaining usually about a 
fortnight to three weeks. 

The unusual scarcity of migrants is very generally reported 
upon at almost all the east coast stations. The remarks of the 
reporters, comparing the observations with former years, generally 
show this to be the case. Thus, commencing with our most 
northerly station. North Unst, I find it stated that, in most 
seasons, '*Land birds, as Snow Buntings, Stonechats, and 
Starlings, strike the lantern." It is also stated that — "Until 
the last three years, large flocks of Iceland Gulls were seen 
during the month of April, going N.W. A few returned this 

z 



170 THE ZOOLOGIST. 

way." They are seen, however, every year in some numbers in 
October. At Sumbiirgh Head, Mr. Anderson says, " In twenty- 
one years I have not seen so few birds strike the lantern " ; and 
^Ir. Tnlloch, svritinpj from North Ronaldshay, says, " We have 
had so much of N.W. winds here this fall, that I think the birds 
have been kept more towards the south." Similar complaints of 
scarcity of migrants reach me from Auskery, Hoy Sound (High), 
Holboin Head, Ness Head, and Isle of May ; and an entire 
absence of all birds — "since the schedules came to hand" — is 
reported at several of these stations. The reason assigned bj' 
Mr. TuUoch is no doubt the correct one. From other stations 
local influences probably have more to do with the scarcity, as, 
for instance, the unfavourable positions of the lanterns. Thus, 
Cromarty is " situated on the point of the town of Cromarty, and 
almost among the houses." During seventeen years that the 
present principal light-keeper has been there, he does not think 
tliat more than a dozen birds have struck the glass. Altogether, 
few of our Scottish stations are situated in as favourable positions 
for observation as the lightships of the English coast. Perhaps 
the Bell Rock and Isle of May are the most favourable in the 
south, and the Pentland Skerries and some of the Orkney and 
Shetland stations in the north. 

Besides the records under the various species which have been 
identified, there are many records of birds striking or passing, 
which were not identified. It is from a comparison of these and 
the other records that I arrive at the conclusion that the above 
stations are the most favoured. Thus, large -numbers of birds 
struck the lantern of Bell Rock, and were lost between midnight 
and dawn on Oct. 7th, and again on the 14th, between 3 a.m. and 
dawn ; on both occasions in foggy, hazy, or rainy weather, &c., as 
is almost invariablv the case. I have not been able to trace from 

ft/ 

actual data, except in a few cases,, the direction of the flight of 
the migrants, as such has not, as a rule, been noted by the 
reporters. It would be an advantage to have this done next 
season, under the column in the schedule for " General Obser- 
vations." The species which have appeared in greatest numbers 
are Thrushes and Blackbirds, Larks, Wheatears, and Swallows ; 
wliilst Hooded Crows — noted as most numerous on the English 
east coast — are absent from all the Scottish returns, and Rooks 
occur only in one very far north instance, viz., at North Unst. 



REPORT ON THE MIGRATION OP BIRDS. 171 

The line of flight of the Anatidce is generally from N. to S., 
as explained further on by Mr. Cordeaux. I may mention here 
that this holds generally also on the west coast of Scotland, but 
that the lines of flight of the Insessores are influenced by local 
causes, and configuration and trend of the west coast. Thus the 
direction, according to previous experience, is often from N.W. 
to S.E. When migrating over or near land the lines of flight 
follow the great valleys and then the coast-lines, often cutting off 
promontories, as at the Boss of Mull. These are probably birds 
having a starting-point more to the N.W., — the Hebrides, Iceland, 
.and North America, — and others which in their migrations from 
east to west overshoot the land and "hark back"; but we will 
speak more of this in our remarks under "West Coast." Land 
birds have passed at all hours of the day and night, flying 
generally low, and in almost all kinds of weather. The Anatidce, 
as a rule, fly much higher, and consequently are only seen, or 
almost only, in clear weather. 

Almost all records of birds caught or killed, or striking at 
the lanterns, are noted on dark or cloudy nights, with fog, haze 
or rain, or snow and sleet. The isolated stations, such as the 
Bell Eock, are most deadly ; many are stunned and killed, and 
blown into the sea, at such localities. Birds on such nights often 
remain around the lights all night or rest on the window-sills of 
the tower and the balconies, or endeavour to obtain entrance to 
the tower. Whenever dawn appears they resume their flight 
towards the nearest land. 

A great northward rush appears to have taken place at Bell 
Rock lighthouse between the 2nd and 11th of March, 1880, as 
noted in the duplicate schedule by Mr. James Jack, lately received 
by me. On the 2nd March great numbers of birds were seen 
flying about the lantern, apparently of various species, of which 
Blackbirds, Thrushes, and Mavises were recognised ; wind S., 
light breeze, heavy sleet ; sexes unidentified ; a great number 
continued to strike hard on lantern all night from 10 p.m., and 
rebounding ofi", fell into the sea. On the 9th, great numbers, 
including Lapwings, Thrushes, Mavises, " Snowflecks," Rooks and 
" Sea-piets," from 5 a.m. till good daylight, when all disappeared 
in the fog ; observer could not say in which direction they flew ; 
wind S.E.J light breeze, fog, and rain. This has been the largest 
migration seen this year; very large numbers of each species 



172 THE ZOOLOGIST. 

seen. On the 11th March great numbers of Lapwings, Curlews, 
Blackbirds, and ** Sea-piets," from 12 midnight till first streak of 
day, when all disappeared ; cannot say in which direction ; wind 
N.E., light breeze, and haze. A few struck lantern-lights and 
flew off again ; sexes not made out. A perceptible increase in 
our birds at inland localities took place about this time, and 
notes on migration taken at various inland localities corroborate 
the rush at coast stations. Curlews were seen passing inland on 
March Gth for first time. Great Tits much increased in numbers, 
as also Chaffinches, Starlings, Thrushes, Blackbirds, &c. 



EAST COAST OF ENGLAND. 

Printed forms of enquiry and letters of instruction were sent 
to thirty-seven light-houses and light-vessels on the east coast of 
England. Twenty-five stations have sent in returns, and twelve 
have failed to do so. The stations from which co-operation was 
asked are as follows, commencing with the most northerly. Those 
from which returns have been received are marked with a *. 

Berwick. 
*Longstone, on the most easterly of the Farn Islands ; white light, revolving 

every 30 seconds. 
*Farn Islands (two lights); white, revolving every 30 seconds. 
*Coquet Island, coast of Northumberland ; two white lights in same tower. 

Souter Point. 
•i-'Teesmouth, No. 5 Buoy Lightvessel ; one white light, fixed. 
-Whitby, High Light; while, fixed. 
Flamborough Head ; two white, one red flash, revolving every half minute. 
Spurn Point. 
^f-Spurn, Lightvessel, six miles S.S.E. of Spurn Point; white, revolving 
every minute. 
Bull, Lightvessel, mouth of Humber. 
>!'Outer Dowsing, Lightvessel, 53 miles E.S.E. Spurn ; red light, revolving 

every QO seconds. 
::=Inner Dowsing, Lightvessel, 17 miles E. Sutton, on Lincolnshire coast; 
green, 20 seconds. 
Dudgeon, Lightvessel, 35 m. E. Skegness, Lincolnshire coast; white, fixed. 
'i^Leman and Ower, Lightvessel, 48 miles E.N.E. of Cromer; two white 

lights, one fixed, one revolving. 
=:=Hunstanton, Lighthouse , white, fixed. 
=;=Cromer, Lighthouse ; white, revolving every minute. 



REPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 173 

Hasborough, Lighthouse ; white, fixed. 

Winterlon, Lighthouse ; white, fixed. 
-:=Newarp, Lightvessel, 12 miles N.E. Winterton ; white, three quick flashes, 

and 36 seconds in a minute dark. 
=i^Cockle, Lightvessel, 3 miles E. Yarmouth; white, revolving each minute. 
^Lowestoft, Lighthouse; white, revolving 30 seconds, and red fight, fixed. 
*Corton, Lightvessel, 4 miles E. Lowestoft; red, revolving 20 seconds. 
^'Orfordness, Lighthouse ; white, fixed. 
'I'Shipwash, Lightvessel, 8 miles S.S.E. of Orfordness; white, fixed. 

Languard Point, Lighthouse, entrance to Harwich Kiver. 

Cork, Lightvessel, 5 miles off mouth of Harwich River. 
^Galloper, Lightvessel, 40 miles S.S.E. of Orfordness; two white, hori- 
zontal, fixed. 
*Kentish Knock, Lightvessel, 33 miles N.E. of North Foreland; white, 

revolving each minute. 
-i'Nore, Lightvessel, mouth of Thames; white, revolving 30 seconds. 
=1' North Foreland, Lighthouse ; white, fixed. 
^Goodwin, Lightvessel, Goodwin Sands ; white, revolving, three quick flashes 

in succession, 36 seconds darkness. 
^:= Gull-stream, Lightvessel, Goodwin Sands ; white, revolving 20 seconds. 
*East-side, Lightvessel, Goodwin Sands, 13 miles E. of Deal; green, 

revolving 15 seconds. 
*South-sand Head, Lightvessel, Goodwin Sands; white, fixed. 

South Foreland, Lighthouse ; white, fixed. 

Dungeness Point ; white, fixed. 

Great credit is due to the observers of the various stations for 
the careful manner in which, as a rule, the returns have been 
made out. Taking them altogether the reports show truthful, 
accurate, and painstaking observation. Excluding the Anatidce, 
Swans, Geese and Ducks, notes have been taken of about thirty- 
two different species. 

SEPARATE REPORT OF EACH SPECIES OBSERVED. 

Of JRaptores two only are mentioned, the Sparrowhawk and the 
Short-eared Owl. Of the former one visited the Inner Dowsing on 
Oct. 1st, at 8 p.m. At the Gull-stream on Sept. 19th one alighted 
on deck and was caught. At the South- sand Head on Sept. 23rd 
a very large Sparrowhawk stopped to rest on the rail, going W. At 
the same station on Oct. 2nd another settled on the lantern, also 
leaving for the west. These may have been hawks in passage, or 
pirates beating in the track of small migrants. The Short-eared 



\Nluil^ 



174 THE ZOOLOGIST. 

Owl occurs only at Teesmouth ; on Sept. 29th one i3assed at day- 
break, one on Oct. 1st at 7 a.m., and another on the 16th at 3 p.m. 

I saw the first Short-eared Owl on the Lincolnshire coast on 
Oct. 30th. Twelve were seen at Spurn the same morning. It 
thus appears that the migration of this species has extended just 
over a month, from Sept. 29th to Oct. 30th. 

Flycatcher, Muscicapa grisola. — At the Galloper on Sept. 
13th, from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., hazy, 200 to 300 birds, mostly Fly- 
catchers ; twenty killed against glass of lantern. At the Kentish 
Knock on Sept. 18th two dozen Flycatchers through night around 
lantern, rain, going S.W. at daylight; none killed. At the Nore, 
Aug. 22nd, at sunrise, mixed with Larks, and again on Sept. 7th, 
same hour, without Larks. At the Gull-stream, on Sept. I7th, at 
3.20 a.m., E., thick rain, large quantities of Flycatchers; lantern 
surrounded by birds. On Oct. 11th- 12th, 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., N.N.E., 
rain, large numbers of Larks, Starlings and Flycatchers in vicinity 
of light ; many struck and went overboard. Time of migration 
extending over fifty-two days.f 

Song Thrush, Redwing, Fieldfare, Blackbird, and King 
Ouzel. — With the exception of the last, which is reported from 
Heligoland, the Turdidce are noticed at fourteen stations extending 
over the w^hole coast-line. At the Longstone, on Sept. 11th, four 
Redwings killed at 3 a.m., gloomy and thick ; on Oct. 30th and 31st 
Thrushes, Blackbirds and Redwings passed, wind E. and N. At 
the Farn Islands, Oct. 14th, Redwings, 9 a.m. ; 15th, Thrushes and 
Blackbirds, N.N.E. half a gale ; 22nd, several Blackbirds ; 30th, 
same, and flocks of Redwings all day, E. ; Nov. 20th, Fieldfares 
all day, E. strong; 22nd, same; Dec. 5th, 3 p.m., snow. Black- 
birds and Thrushes. At Teesmouth on Dec. 1st, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 
snow. Redwings, Thrushes and Fieldfares, going from N. to S.W.- 
Dec. 2nd, a few Redw^in gs. A t Tooomoutk lighthouse on Oct. 1st, 



at daylight, forty to fifty Thrushes, and twenty to thirty at 9 a.m. 
on the 7th ; on Dec. 4th, at G a.m., one Blackbird struck the glass 
and was killed. At Spurn on Dec. 2nd, 9 a.m., large numbers of 
Thrushes. At the Outer Dowsing, Sept. 24th, four Blackbirds; on 
the 29th, 10 a.m. to 1 p m., six Thrushes. At the Leman and Ow^er 
on Dec. IGtli, Thrushes in comj^any wdth Larks and Starlings all 

+ I find tlie following reference to this species in my note-book: — " Did not 
observe any Flycatchers, old or young, in this neighbourhood after tlie end of 
August : up to this time they were exceptionally numerous." — J. C. 



REPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 175 

through the night. At Cromer on Oct. 24th three Thrushes struck 
the lantern during the night ; on the oOth four, and on Nov. 16th 
five others. At the Newarp, Nov. 28th, 9 a.m., six Blackbirds passed. 
At the Kentish Knock, Nov. 18th, one Thrush killed. At the Nore, 
Nov. 7th, four Blackbirds, going W.S.W. ; Nov. 3rd, Fieldfares. 
At the North Foreland, Nov. 21st, 1 a.m., E.S E., snow, one Black- 
bird killed. At the Gull-stream, Nov. 21st, cloudy and showers of 
snow, Starlings, Blackbirds, and Thrushes in the vicinity of light 
from 1 to 4 a.m. ; six Starlings, four Thrushes, and one Blackbird 
killed. At the South-sand Head, Oct. 12th, dense fog, many 
Thrushes; several killed. General line of migration, with few 
exceptions, E. to W., carried on both by day and night; a con- 
siderable proportion, however, appear to arrive from daj'break to 
10 a.m. Migration of Thrush extending over seventy- seven days, 
from Oct. 1st at Teesmouth to Dec. 16th at the Leman and Ower ; 
of Redwing, sixt^^-five days, from Sept. 11th at the Longstone to 
Dec. 2nd at Teesmouth; of Fieldfare, twenty-eight days, from 
Nov. 8rd at the Nore to Dec. 1st at Teesmouth;! of Blackbird, 
seventy-two days, from Sept. 24th at the Outer Dowsing to Dec. 5th 
at Earn Islands. I On Oct. 29th, S.E. and E., Tardus iliaciis crossed 
Heligoland in large numbers, " thousands and thousands passing 
on overhead ; the same day, T. torquatus, " a few"; T. merula and 
T. musicus, "limited numbers"; *' T. iliacus descending from 
invisible heights down to about one hundred feet above island, — 
three hundred feet above the sea, — then all of them passing on; 
when atmosphere got clear again, in afternoon, passage ceased." 
Again on the night of the 30th, N.N.E., "enormous number of 
Turdidce passing overhead." 

Redbreast, Whitethroat, Wren.— The same notes in the 
reports applying generally to the three species, it is not necessary 
to treat them separately. At Coquet Island, on Sept. 13th, 11 p.m., 
two Redbreasts struck glass, not killed. At Hunstanton, on 

t Mr. W. Eagle Clarke reports that on the Sith of January last large -numbers 
of Fieldfares were seen between Easington and Kilnsea, near Spurn Point, and as they 
were the first seen in the neighbourhood this season they were no doubt ini migrants, 
moi-e particularly as tbe locality in which they were seen is one where they are only 
observed during or immediately after arrival. Large Hocks appeared also in North- 
East Lincolnshire during the last fortnight in January, so far as my own observations 
go, composed entirely of old birds. Mr. Gatke also writes, "All January through, 
night from 10th to 11th, great many from the east; 21st to 2J:th, the same." — J. C. 

I Numbers of fine old cock Blackbirds arrived at Spurn during the latter part of 
January, and early in February at the same time with the Fieldfares. — J. C. 



176 THE ZOOLOGIST. 

Oct. 13th, 1 p.m., fog, a Wren and Redbreast seen. At Cromer, 
May 23rd, 1 a.m., a great many Wrens ; two killed, also one Red- 
breast ; May 27th, 11 p.m., Wrens and Wliitethroats, five killed 
(these last notes are referable to the spring migration) ; Sept. 12th, 
Wrens and tliree Redbreasts strike glass. At Spurn this autumn 
the Common Wren did not appear before the middle of December ; 
they usually arrive about the end of October.! Redbreasts were 
very numerous at Spurn on Oct. 30th, wind blowing very fresh 
from N.E. None reported from Heligoland, but a great many 
Accentor modularis on Oct. 29th, wind S.E. and E. 

GoLDEN-CRESTED Wren. — Most exceptionally scarce ; only one 
mentioned, at the Cockle, on Oct. 16th, at 3 p.m., wind N.N.E., 
when one came on board and was caught. Three were seen in a 
garden near Spurn on Oct. 27th and 28th ; none, so far as I am 
aware, on any part of the Lincolnshire and Durham coasts, neither 
ai'e they mentioned in the Heligoland report. 

Titmice. — At the Gull-stream, Sept. 17th, 3.20 a.m., thick, 
rain, E., several Titmice seen round lantern amongst the Fly- 
catchers. Mr. Gatke remarks, " There have been no Parus major 
all this autumn, and we have actually seen only one bird"; early 
in October, " daily some Parus atcr, that come here rarely but 
when there is an appearance of easterly winds." 

Wheatear. — At Hunstanton, May 24th, 1 1 p.m. to 2 a.m., drizzly 
rain, forty-one small birds killed, amongst them three Wheatears. 
At Cromer, Aug. 16th, 1 a.m., several Wheatears; four killed. 

Titlark, Anthiis sp.? — At Spurn, May 25th, 1 a.m., rain, 
several Titlarks killed (referable to the spring migration), At 
the South-sand Head, Oct. 12th, 3 a.m., N.E., dense fog, Titlarks, 
amongst thousands of other birds, around and passing lantern. 

Shore Lark, Otocorys alpestris. — On Dec. 19th two were shot, 
from a small flock on the Humber side of Spurn Point ; these 
were received in the flesh on the 22nd by Mr. W. Eagle Clarke, of 
Leeds. t At Heligoland, on Oct. 1st, "some flights"; 5th, "some 
score"; 8th, "a great many"; 10th, "many flights"; on the 24th 
likewise, and again on the 29th, " many." 

t A friend, the owner of several steam-tugs, informs me that he has frequently 
known the Common "Wren to come on board his vessels when far Irom land on the 
North Sea.— J. C. 

I Mr. Clarke subsequently informed me that on March I8th, this year, he saw a 
flock of about twenty Shore Larks at Spurn, and that during the past winter thirty- 
three have been shot there, in the proportion of two males to one female. — J. C. 



REPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 177 

Sky Lark, Alauda arvensis. — None reported north of the 
Humber, and a negative return from Heligoland. South of the 
Humber, from every station making returns, and showing a 
gradual increase towards the more southern stations, where they 
crossed in immense numbers. Earliest date of passage, July 24th, 
at the Goodwin, 10 a.m., ninety to a hundred flying N.W. to the 
nearest land, and again at the same station on Aug. 4th. After 
this no further notice till Sept. 17th, when the regular and normal 
migration of this species appears to have set in and continued 
without intermission till Dec. 27th. Leaving out the two earliest 
dates as exceptional, we shall find that the immigration of the 
Larks to our east coast was continued over 102 days. During 
October, November and December (first fortnight) they crossed 
continually, passing from E. to W., also from points S. of E. 
to others N. of W., over the narrowest part of the North Sea, 
as is shown in the returns of the most southern lightships — 
Galloper, Kentish Knock, Nore, North Foreland, Goodwin, Gull- 
stream, East Side, and South-sand Head ; time, any hour of the 
da}^ or night; direction of wind, variable. It would be quite 
impossible in a limited space to give anything like a detailed 
statement of the immigration of Larks, so a few extracts from my 
summar}' of the reports must suffice. There was a "great rush" 
of Larks and other species between Oct. 12th and 2i3rd. On the 
16th October more birds appear to have crossed than on any day 
during the autumn. There was again a "final rush" of the laggards 
just preceding and during the outbreak of severe weather early in 
December. At the Newarp, Sept. 29th to Oct. 27th, on fourteen 
days, going W., no particular hour, some striking lantern at night. 
At the Cockle, Sept. 28th to Oct. 17th, as a rule, very early in the 
morning (4.30 to 9.20 a.m.), on foggy, thick nights stopping to 
hover round lantern, some strike and are killed ; Oct. 9th to 16tb, 
" great rush." At the Gorton, Oct. 22nd and 23rd, flocks passing 
all day to N.W.; Nov. 11th, many hundreds during day; and again 
on Dec. 25th, all day from N.E. to S.W., Ducks and Larks; 
Dec. 27th, hundreds of Larks during afternoon. At the Shipwash, 
from Oct. 9th to 16th ; all day on 1 5th and 16th. At the Galloper,! 
from Oct. 8th to 24th, Larks, Starlings and Chaffinches, generally 

+ Birds passing this station were all passing to E. or E.S.E. or S.E. in October. 
On Nov. 2U\i great numbers of Larks and Starlings were observed passing to N.N.E. 
See general remarks at end of report. — J. C. 

2 A 



178 THE ZOOLOGIST. 

during night; between these dates 135 of these species killed 
against lantern. At the Kentish Knock, Oct. 23rd, N.W., hazy, 
Larks and Chaffinches through niglit, "in clouds," sixt}^ picked up 
on deck, and probably double this number falling overboard ; 
Dec. 1st, from noon to 2.30 p.m., thick snow falling, Larks, Curlews, 
Starlings, Ducks, Chaffinches and Linnets, too numerous to men- 
tion ; they came in clouds from N.E. to W.S.W. At the Nore, 
Aug. 4th to Dec. 6th and 7th, on forty-four days ; on Dec. Gth and 
7th, by hundreds all day, often mixed with Starlings, Linnets and 
Sparrows. At the North Foreland, on Sept. I7th, a few ; Oct. 16th, 
midnight, misty, fourteen Larks and ten Starlings ; I7th, between 
3 and 4 a.m., ten Larks and nine Starlings struck. At the Goodwin, 
Sept. I7th to Dec. 7th, on nineteen days, going W. or N.W. or 
W.N.W. ; Oct. 13th and 15th, in shoals throughout night ; 13th to 
22nd, "great rush." At the Gull-stream, Oct. 16th to 22nd, "great 
rush," flocks two hundred yards apart, passing westward. At 
the East-side, Oct. 9th to Dec. 12th, on seven daj^s, E. to W. ; on 
Sept. 23rd, going N. to S., with a N.E. wind blowing. At the South- 
sand Head, Oct. 12th, 3 a.m., dense fog, " great rush," thousands of 
Larks and other birds, many killed ; Dec. 1st, 3 p.m., dense fog 
and snow, "final rush," Larks, Starlings, and fift}^ Curlews; twelve 
Starlings caught on board, but no Larks. Mr. J. H. Gurney, jun., 
writing from Lowestoft, says, " On Wednesday (Oct. 22nd), the 
arrival of Larks here was regular throughout the day." On 
Oct. 29th, at Spurn Point, Mr. W. Eagle Clarke, of Leeds, says, 
*' Sky Larks arriving and passing south in thousands the whole 
day." Innnense numbers also arrived on the Lincolnshire aoast 
in the last fortnight of October. (At Heligoland, Oct. 29th, S.E., 
and E., " Alauda arhoreus, many.") 

Snow Bunting, PlectropJianes nivalis. — None at stations south 
of the Humber. At the Longstone, Sept. 5th, 8.30 a.m., wind S., one 
was seen on the rocks ; my correspondent remarks, "Earliest date 
I have ever seen a Snow Bunting on these islands (Earn Isles)." 
At the Earn Islands, Oct. 3rd, 11.30 a.m., three Snow Buntings 
flying N.W. ; Oct. 25th, afternoon, in flocks flying W. At Tees- 
mouth, Nov. 7th to Dec. 20th, several flocks between these dates 
flying N.W. At Spurn, Snow Buntings were first seen on the 28th. 
October; and large flocks of from 400 to 500 in the Lincolnshire 
marshes during the first week in November. At Heligoland on 
Oct. 30th, N.N.E., " Emheriza nivalis^ a great many," and on 



REPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 179 

the 31st, S.E., calm, overcast, "Snow Buntings and Finches." 
Leaving out the Farn Island date as exceptional,! we find the 
regular migration of this species to have commenced on Oct. 25th 
and finished Dec. 20th — fift}^- seven days. 

Chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs. — Has occurred at several stations, 
and both north and south of the Humber. At the Longstone, 
Sept. 28th and Oct. 1st, G a.m. till noon, S. strong, rain and mist, 
flocks of Finches and other birds going W. At the Outer Dowsing, 
Oct. 18th, at noon, going E. to W. ; Oct. 24th, 7 p.m., overcast, 
rain, thirty round lantern, two killed. At the Leman and Owers, 
Oct. 7th, N.N.E., gloomy, mixed flocks of Larks, Chaffinches and 
Starlings during day and night. At the Newarp, Sept. 26th to 
Oct. 23rd, on several days. At the Cockle, odd birds, on three days, 
strike lantern or come on board. At the Kentish Knock, Oct. 23rd 
and Dec. 1st (see Sky Lark). At the Goodwin, Sept. 17th, 9 to 
1 1 p.m., overcast, hazy, flying round lantern. Migration extending 
from Sept. 17th to Dec. 1st — seventy-six days. 

Linnet, Linota cannahina. — None registered north of the 
Shipwash, off the Essex coast, where from Oct. 9th to 16th flocks 
passed daily, all hours, going E. to W. At the Nore, Oct. 14th 
to Nov. 12th, invariably mixed with Larks. At the Gull- stream, 
Oct. 15th to 22nd, many flocks. 

Twite, Linota Jiavirostris. — One station only, the Kentish 
Knock, Oct. 24th, misty with rain, "Mountain Linnets," Larks and 
Starhngs through the night ; sixty picked up on deck, as many 
more went overboard. Nov. 8th, one caught on deck. 

Tree Sparrow, Passer montanus. — Flocks of Sparrows | were 
noticed at several stations south of the Humber. At the Outer 
Dowsing, on Sept. 29th, at noon, and Oct. 13th, 2 p.m., travelling 
from E. to W. At the Kentish Knock, Oct. 22nd to Nov. 8th, going 
from S.E. to N.W. ; on Nov. 8th two came on board. At the 
Nore, Oct. 27th and Nov. 15th, on latter day mixed with Larks. 
At the Goodwin, Oct. 6th and 22nd, passing to W.N.W. At 

+ In a note to Yarrell's ' British Birds ' (vol. ii., p. 6, 4th ed.) , Prof. Newton cites, 
on my authority, the occurrence of a Snow Bunting on the Lincolnshire coast on 
Sept. 16th, 1875, as perhaps the earliest date for England. The Farn Island bird 
must now take precedence by eleven days. — J. C. 

I It is not improbable that in some of the returns the entries may refer to the 
Common Sparrow. We know, however, that Passer montanus is such a constant 
and regular migrant to our east coast in the autumn that in the majority of cases 
it will refer to this species. — J. C. 



180 THE ZOOLOGIST. 

tlie Gull-stream, Oct Kith, large numbers of Sparrows and Linnets 
going W. ; also on the 24th, 3.30 p.m., flocks 200 yards apart. 
At the East-side, Nov. 8th, 9 a.m., a flock going E. to W. At the 
South-sand Head, Oct. 8th, "French Sparrows"; 16th, the same, 
some settled on board. Time of migration Sept. 29th to Nov. 15th 
— forty-eight days. During September and October Tree Sparrows 
usually arrive in North-East Lincolnshire in flocks containing 
many hundreds. This year has been quite an exceptional one, 
and only a few stragglers have been seen. I suspect the per- 
sistence of north-westerly winds in the autumn has driven these 
and the great body of our immigrants much further southward 
than is usual. The returns indeed show this to be the case. 

House Sparrow, Passer domesticus — Only once mentioned, at 
the Gorton, Sept. 28th, 7.50 a.m., large flock going west, males 
and females. As the female of the preceding is undistinguishable 
from the male, this entry undoubtedly refers to the Gommon 
Sj^arrow. We know that the House Sj^arrow is a migrant across 
Heligoland, t and my own observations on the Lincolnshire coast 
tend to the same conclusion. 

Starling, Stiirnus vulgaris. — Next to the Lark, the Starling 
occupies the most prominent position in the reports. It is noticed 
both north and south of the Humber at seventeen stations : — 
the Longstone, Goquet Island, Teesmouth, Outer Dowsing, Inner 
Dowsing, Leman and Ower, Gromer, Newaip, Gockle, Galloper, 
Kentish Knock, Nore, North Foreland, Goodwin, Gull-stream, 
East-side, and South-sand Head. Enormous numbers passed the 
southern stations in October, November and December. Some- 
times in separate flocks, sometimes mixed with other birds. They 
crossed at all hours of the day and night, and in all winds and 
weather. Earliest recorded, Cromer, June iOth, 2 a.m., "quantity"; 
the Newarp, 7 a.m., on July 4th, going E. to W. ; these were 
young birds.! Leaving out the earliest dates as referring to the 
migration of the young, we fincf that the regular immigration 
on to our east coast commenced on Sept. 22nd, when four were 
killed against the lantern of the Longstone at 3 a.m., to Dec. 16th 

+ See a letter by Mr. Gatke in ' The Times,' March 31st, 1877, on the " Migration 
of Sparrows." 

\ This bears out Mr. Gatke's observation in a letter dated Heligoland, 1879, 
Avhen he says, " Hundreds of thousands of young Starlings from end of June to end 
of July. Hundreds of thousands of old birds during October, November, and later; 
young and old strictly divided in their migratio'ns." 



REt>OilT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. l8l 

at the Leman and Ower — eighty-six claj^s ; migration E. to W. The 
Starling, like the Lark, appears to have a particular facilit}^ for 
immolating itself against the lanterns. At the Leman and Ower 
large nmnbers of Starlings, along with Larks and Chaffinches, were 
taken in October; at the Galloper (see Sky Lark); also at the 
North Foreland, and many other instances too numerous to 
mention. At Heligoland this year there hnve been no j'oun'g 
Starlings during July; Mr. Gatke says he may perhaps have seen 
a hundred, and this is all. 

Hooded Crow, Corvus comix; Rook, C . frugilegus ; Daw, 
C. monedula. — The migration of Rooks is not noted on the 
English coast north of the Humber ; south of this they were 
noticed at nearly every station as either Rooks or " Black Crows," 
to distinguish them from the Hoodie or Grey Crow. Immense 
numbers of both Rooks and Gre}' Crows crossed on Oct. 16th from 
dajdight to dark, travelling from E. to W. Noticeably at the Inner 
Dowsing, on Oct. 16tb, large number of Crowds, from N.E. to W.; 
at Hunstanton, on the 17th, Hooded Crowds and Rooks all day; at 
the Newarp, on the 16th ; at the Cockle, the same da}^ " height of 
rush," Crows and Rooks, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., going W., and again on 
the 22nd, 23rd and 24th, large numbers of Crows, Rooks, Starlings 
and Larks, from daylight to dark, passing W. ; again on Nov. 8th, 
large flocks of Crows. At the Corton, on Oct. 16th and 22nd, con- 
tinuous flocks of Crows, Daws and Larks all day, E. to W., also 
Nov. 8th and 11th and Dec. 27th. At the Shipwash, Oct. 15th and 
16th, constant on 15th, till 12 a.m. ; on 16th, 9 a.m. to 3.20 p.m., 
from S.S.E. to N.N.W. At the Goodwin, Oct. 15th to 21st, Crows 
"in shoals." At the South-sand Head, Oct. 16th, Rooks, 9.30 a.m., 
going W.I^.W. and N.W. ; and seven other stations. In the 
returns it is impossible in man}' cases, under the general entry of 
"Crows," to separate the Hooded Crow from the Rook. It 
appears, however, that immense numbers of the Corviclce crossed 
the North Sea ; Rooks at stations south of the Humber, and 
Hooded Crows at both northern and southern stations from 
Oct. 15th to Nov. 19th. Both Rooks and Hooded Crows appear 
to have started simultaneousl}^ on Oct. 15th, and passed across 
the North Sea from E. to W. in almost continuous flocks on the 
16th and 17th; and after these dates in more scattered detach- 
ments, less and less to Nov. 19th. And again during the latter, 
part of December ; the last entry is on Dec. 27th at the Corton, 



182 THE ZOOLOGIST. 

Crows passing E. and W. in afternoon and Larks in hundreds. 
Daws are onl}' mentioned at two stations ; the Gorton on Oct. 10th 
and 2:2nd, continuous flocks of Daws and Crows all da}' ; also 
at tlie Shipwash on tlie IGth. At the Inner Dowsing on Oct. 22nd 
four Crows remained all night on globe above the lantern, and five 
took up their position in the same quarter on the night of Nov. 8th, 
leaving at daylight for the Lincolnshire coast. The wind on the 
Noilh Sea on Oct. IGth was N. to N.E., force 4 to 7. 

Cuckoo, Cuculus canorns. — On Sept. 17th, 10 p.m., at the North 
Foreland, wind E., overcast, mist}^ a Cuckoo struck the south 
side of the lantern, but was not killed. 

Swallow, Hirundo rustica. — The spiing migration was noticed 
at two stations — the Cockle, June 8th, 9.20 a.m., five Swallows 
passed towards land; also on July 1st at 4.30 a.m., ten passing to 
W.S.W. ; at the South-sand Head, July 0th, twenty at 3.30 a.m., 
flying towards N.N W. The autumn migration was observed at 
several stations both north and south of the Humber. At Coquet 
Island, Aug. 15th, midnight, S.E., three Swallows struck glass of 
lantern, but were not killed ; on the 20th great numbers were seen 
flying about, two striking glass after dark, but were not killed. 
At Whitby, on Oct. 4th, 9.30 a.m., flock going south. At Hun- 
stanton, on Sept. 10th, 2 p.m., a flock alighted on lantern and 
gallery ; and on Oct. 12th, 3 p.m., fog, twelve came up to light and 
dispersed in various directions. At the North Foreland, on 
Sept. 9th, 10th and 11th, about forty passed each day; and on the 
21st, about one hundred flew round the lantern top for an hour. 
At the South-sand Head on Sept. 28th, twelve. Swallows passed. 
Migration extending from Aug. 15th to Oct. 12th — fifty-nine days. 

Swift, Cypselas cqms. — The autumn migration of Swifts, so 
remarkable in 1879 for the great numbers seen at various places 
on the north-east coast (see Zool. Jan. 1880, p. 8), was observed 
at only two stations. At Teesmouth, great numbers flying about 
during the last three days of Augu'st. At the Nore, on Aug. 1st 
and 2nd, between 6 and 7 a.m., and again on the 20th ; last on 
Oct. loth, 9 a.m.. Swifts mixed w^th Larks. At Heligoland, 
Martins and Swifts, "rather great numbers during August; par- 
ticularl}' noted on the 10th, wind S.E., Swifts a great many; on 
the 20th, the same." 

Charadriidje. — The burst of severe weather during the early 
days in December brought an immeHSe influx of Plovers to our 



REPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 188 

east coast from the north ; large flocks are noticed at this time at 
the more northern stations, more particularly at Coquet Island 
on Nov. 26th and Dec. Gth, northerly and westerly winds, force 
from 6 to 8. There is only one notice south of the Humber, and 
this early in the season. At the Shipwash, Oct. 12th, flock of thirty 
Lapwings, going westward. 

Woodcock, Scolopax rusticola. — Was observed at the Farn 
Islands, Oct. 22nd, 30th (great flight), Nov. 1st, Dec. 2nd, N.E. 
to N.N.E. At Coquet Island, Sept. 29th, S.W., strong, one; and 
Oct. 2.Uh, also one; about noon on both days. At Teesmouth, 
Nov. 2nd, three at daylight. At the Outer Dowsing, a station more 
than fifty miles from the nearest land, on Dec. 12th, two flying W. 
At Heligoland, Oct. 30th, N.N.W., early at dawn, great many 
Woodcocks; about 100 killed. Great numbers were shot on the 
Yorkshire and Lincolnshire coast on the morning of Oct. 31st, 
sixty at Spurn Point alone; wind very fresh from N.E. on the 
previous night with drizzly rain. The migration of Woodcocks 
extended from Sej)t. 29th at Coquet Island to Dec. 12th at the Outer 
Dowsing — seventy-five days. The " great flight," at Heligoland 
on the morning of Oct. 30th ; east coast of England, on the night 
of the 30th. 

Snipe, Gallinago media, — At the Longstone, Sept. 17th, 2.30 
a.m., misty, one struck the lantern and was killed. At the Farn 
Islands, on Dec. 2nd, 10th and 19th. At the North Foreland, on 
Nov. 14th, 1.30 a.m., N., moderate gale, and again on the 21st, at 
5 a.m., snow. Snipe were killed. Very large numbers arrived in 
Holderness and North Lincolnshire, from the middle to the end 
of November, just preceding the outbreak of severe weather in 
December. They left the district again, almost to a bird, before 
the middle of the month. 

Curlew, Numenius arqiiatus. — Curlews were in large flocks at 
Teesmouth on Sept. 27th. At the Inner Dowsing, Sept. 1st, three 
going from N.E. to S.W. At Hunstanton, on Oct. 13th, 4 a.m., 
fog, one struck glass of lantern and was taken. At the South-sand 
Head, Aug. 13th to 29th, large flocks, 100 to 200 in a flock, going 
S. and S.W. The Curlew migrates early in the autumn, Aug. 13th 
to Sept. 29th. Most of these entries w^ill probably refer to young 
birds, the old Curlews coming later in October and November. 
At Heligoland, Oct. 30th, many passed over. 

Anatid^. — Between Dec. 4th and 20th Swans passed the 



184 THE ZOOLOGIST. 

Teesmouth from N. to S. in some numbers ; on the 4tli, six ; the 
8th, five (four old and one young); 14th, nine (eight old and one 
young); ir)th, forty- three; KUh, three; 18th, two ; the 20th, ten at 
10 a.m., and ninety-five at 11 a.m. On the 18th a Hock of thirty 
was seen near Sx^urn, one old white bird acting as pilot, the 
remainder all young, in the brown plumage. Two Bewick's Swans 
were shot on the Humber on the 8th. Four passed the Kentish 
Knock, on Dec. 4tli, 2.15 p.m., N.E. to S.W. Two Swans, which 
may have been " escaped birds" from some private waters, passed 
the Teesmouth on Sept. 80th, 10 a.m., flying S.E. Geese were 
observed at several stations both north and south of the Humber, 
going south from Aug. 18th to Dec. 13th, the main bod}^ passing 
south during the last half of November and in December. Brent 
or "Black Geese" are noted at the Gorton, going south, July 18th, 
twelve ; July 30th, two flocks of from thirty to forty ; on Sept. 17th, 
thirty. These are very early dates for Brent Geese, t Mr. Cotton, 
the observer, might have possibly been led into an error by passing 
flocks of black Scoters. As, however, "black ducks" are frequently 
mentioned in his return, this could hardly be the case, and he 
appears very well able to discriminate between the two. At the 
Gorton, Dec. 4th, hundreds of black geese from N.E. to S.W. from 
sunrise to noon— i. e., towards the mouth of the Thames or Essex 
coast. As might have been expected, large flocks of Ducks are 
constantly noted, so frequentl}^ indeed, as to defy repetition ; this 
is more particularl}^ the case in the returns from the lightships. 
They are noted sometimes flying S.. from the land or to the land, 
and in fact in every direction. Many of these would be local flo.cks 
going to and from their feeding grounds. Immense numbers, how- 
ever, coming from the north, passed along the coast in November 
and December. At Goquet Island, on Dec. 14th, 3 a.m., N.W., 
blowing a gale, two Eider Ducks (spelt phonetically, "Ida" in 
the report) struck lantern and one was killed. 

Red-throated Diver, ColymhiCs septeiitrionalis. — Red-throated 
Divers and Mergansers are mentioned in the report from Tees- 
mouth during November. With regard to the first of these, 
Mr. Giitke sends the following curious note, dated Dec. 22nd, 
1879 : — ^^ Colymhus septentrionalis, almost by the million. During 

t Major C. Russell, writing from Essex, says, " The earliest occurrence of Brent 
Geese on our coast I ever remember hearing of was Sept. 29th, when many years 
ago one of our coast gunners, still living, killed -ten at a shot." 



REPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 185 

the last forty years there have never, during a single autumn, 
been a fiftieth part of what we see here now every day — all passing 
along, principally during the forenoon, east of the island in an E. 
by N. direction, which I think they continue till coming to the 
Holstein coast, then strike off in a northerly course up to the 
extreme north of Jutland, and from thence cross over to the 
'Dutch coast, perhaps next morning to renew the trip. There are 
constantly so many that one scarcely can believe them always to 
be fresh birds." 

Procellarid-e. — At the Longstone, on Sept. 18th, at 3 a.m., 
two Petrels were caught against the lantern-windows. At Coquet 
Island, on Nov. 4th, 3 a.m., one killed against the lantern. At the 
Goodwin, Oct. 11th, five were seen with many Larks and Starlings 
round the lantern at night. Greater numbers of Procellaria 
glacialis have been seen off Heligoland during the autumn than 
has been the case for the last twenty years. 

Independent of the notes of each species, as already given, 
numerous flocks of small birds were seen passing the stations, but 
too far distant to determine the species. This was specially the 
case at the Spurn, on Dec. 3rd and 8th ; at the Cockle, on Oct. 9th ; 
and at the South-sand Head, on Sept. 20th. At the Kentish Knock, 
on Nov. 20th, half-a-dozen small birds came on board at midnight, 
which, from the written description in the margin, were probably 
Greenfinches. It is, however, impossible to give even a guess at 
another species which visited another lightvessel on Sept. 20th, 
" Fifty very small birds — in fact, the smallest of British birds — 
like a Sky Lark, but a deal smaller." From the date, they may 
have been either Titlarks or Flycatchers. 

No rare migrants have been noticed, but this was scarcely to 
be expected. In this respect the budget of notes supplied by that 
veteran ornithologist Herr Gatke bears a striking contrast to our 
east coast reports. On that small island, so favourably situated 
for observation, Mr. Giitke has trained up quite a host of practical 
observers, and any rare visitant will have to be very sharp if it 
succeeds in escaping detection. Quoting from Mr. Gatke's letter 
dated Dec. 22nd, we have, on Sept. I7th, Sylvia fiiscata, though 
not got; A7ithiis Richardi on the 18th; A. cervinus on the 20th; 
Picus leuconotus on the 21st; then some days S.W. with rain and 
no birds; 26th, calm and clear, Emheriza imsilla ; 27th, E.N.E., 

2 B 



18f3 THE ZOOLOGIST. 

Anthus Richardi, Emheriza imsilla (two shot), E. aureola (seen); 
28th, E. jmsilla (two seen), E. rustica (one shot) ; 2yth, Sylvia 
superciliosus [one); ^Oth, Emheriza piisilla (one); Oct. liit,E.pusilla 
(one) ; Nov. 2nd, 8rd and 4tli, westerly winds and nothing, hut 
daily some Parus ater ; on the 5th, again, Anthus cervinus (seen 
and heard); northerly winds, sometimes N.E. on the 8th, a Leaf 
Warhler seen at close quarters, hut not procured hy Aeuckens" 
the Heligoland hirdstutier, which Mr. Giitke feels tolerahly certain 
was a very rare visitant ; the same day there were two or three 
E. rustica, and one each of A. jnisilla and A. cervinus. The rare 
Leaf Warhler was again seen on the 9th, hut could not he ohtained; 
an Emheriza rustica was also seen. On tlie 10th, E. pusilla shot 
and E. rustica seen. On the 12th, Muscicapa parva and Motacilla 
luguhris, which latter comes there rarely in autumn. On the 14th, 
Sylvia superciliosus was shot hy Mr. Giitke's eldest son, and two 
more were seen hy Aeuckens in a garden where shooting was not 
permitted. On the 18th, one very fine E. pusilla shot. On the 20th 
Lestris affinis was seen close hy, hut not shot, as it would have 
fallen in the sea and drifted awa}'. This is the third, if not the 
fourth, known occurrence of the Siherian Herring Gull at Heligo- 
land. On tlie 24th a large liedpoU was shot, which Mr. Giitke 
tliinks can only be the Greenland bird, Lhtota Hornemanni. 

A suunnary of the various returns show that four species, 
Larks, Starlings, liooks and Hooded Crows, in the order given 
respectively, far outnumber any other, and of these four the Lark 
far exceeds the rest in migratory numbers. As a rule, the lines of 
migration followed have been from E. to W., or S.E. to N.W. 
direct on to the English coast. To the middle of October we find 
birds rarely coming from points north of east ; after this date the}' 
appear to come occasionally from directions north of east, between 
east and due north. The line of migration of the Anatidce has 
been from north to south, crossing the line of the Insessores at 
right angles. 

There is one remarkable exception to the general rule of an 
east to west route in the case of the lightvessel on the Galloper 
Bank, forty miles S.S.E. of Orfordness. All entries in this return 
show birds jiassing to the E. or S.S.E. or S.E. during October.. 
We can only account for this anomalous line by supposing the 
birds which cross the Galloper have previously struck the English 
coast at some higher latitude, auct after skirting the coast line 



REPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 187 

shot off again somewhere near Orfordness and crossed the North 
Sea to the Belgian and French coasts between Nieuport and 
Dankerque. On Nov. Sith a great quantity of Larks and Starlings 
passed the Galloper towards the N.N.E, a line which if persevered 
in would eventuall}' bring them to the Dutch coast. 

At the East-side from the 2nd to the 5th of November flocks of 
" Crows" -svere observed passing from the S. to the N., or from the 
French to the Suffolk coast. The great bod}- of the immigrants 
during 1879 have crossed at the more southern stations, the four 
lightships on the Goodwin Sands, also the Nore, the Shipwash 
and Kentish Knock showing a constant and continuous stream 
on to the south-east coast. These birds would all cross at the 
narrowest part of the North Sea directl}^ from E. to W. to the 
English coast. The long prevalence of north-westerly winds in 
October and November may to a great extent have deflected the 
lines of migration much farther to the south than is generally 
the case. 

Migrants have passed the stations at all hours of the day and 
night, flying at no great altitude and in almost all wdnds and 
weather. When the nights are dark and cloudy, no stars 
appearing, in rain, fogs and snowstorms, flocks of birds during 
tlie night migrations will crowd round the lanterns of the light- 
ships ; many strike the glass and are killed, falling on deck or 
pitching overboard. On these nights birds will often remain 
for hours in the vicinity of a light, circling round and round, 
evidently having lost their w^ay ; at the first break in the clouds, 
the stars becoming visible, or the first streak of earl}^ dawn, they 
will resume their flight to the nearest land. 

The "great rush" of immigrants was from the 12th to the 
28rd of October. The " final rush " took place just preceding and 
during the first burst of winter, early in December. 

The occurrences when birds travel dead to windward are very 
rare indeed, and then onl}^ with light winds. In the great majority 
of cases birds migrate flying within two to four points of the wdnd, 
sometimes wdth a "beam" wind, or even a point or two " abaft of 
beam." If the wind changes during the actual passage, birds will 
change the direction of their flight to suit the wind. Tlius at the 
Shipwash, on Oct. 16th, from 9.50 a.m. to 1.20 p.m. the wind w\as 
N.N.W., flocks constantly passing from S.E. to N.W. from 1.20 
to 3.20 p.m. the wind blew from N.N.E. , and the birds passed 



18s THE ZOOLOGIST. 

S.S.E. to N.N.W. If subsequent observations sbould prove the 
correctness of this rule, it will go far to account for all the 
irregularities of migration — the "why" birds are seen in great 
numbers in one j'ear in an}' locality, and perhaps absent altogether 
in following seasons. 

Subsequent to the writing of this report I have received 
several communications showing a large and ver}' lemarkable 
influx of immigrants on to the east coast of England in January 
and the first fortnight in February, 1880. On Jan. 24th great 
numbers of Fieldfares were seen near Spurn Point, between 
Easington and Kilnsea, and since this date they are reported as 
very numerous in the locality ; with the Fieldfares came many 
fine old cock Blackbirds. In North-East Lincolnshire, also, during 
the last fortnight in January I saw many very large flocks of 
Fieldfares, apparently entirely composed of old birds ; before this 
time scarcely any had been seen. Mr. Giltke writes from Heligo- 
land : — *T. pilaris all January, through night from 10th to 11th, 
great many ; also Oystercatchers and other waders coming from 
the E ; also from 21st to 24th, the same." These dates agree 
very well with the tinie of their arrival on our east coast. Short- 
eared Owls arrived in some numbers at Spurn in the last week in 
January. A very large flock of Snow^ Buntings was seen on the 
8th February. On the Lincolnshire side I noticed an immense 
flock of the same species, fresh arrivals, on the 5th ; and on the 
11th thousands, also hundreds of Larks. This final and third 
"rush" of immigrants so late in the winter is curious, and may 
perliaps be explained by the comparatively uiilder winter over 
Northern Europe, compared with what we have experienced in 
the central and southern zones of Europe. We have indeed a 
recent precedent for this in the winter of 1877-78, when, after 
a long continuance of mild weather in Scandinavia, a sharp and 
sudden outburst of real wdnter drove the Fieldfares, as Mr. Gatke 
says, over Heligoland, on the night from the 27th to 28th January, 
in " countless flights." 



EEPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 189 



WEST COAST OF SCOTLAND. 

Printed forms of enquiry and letters of instruction were 
forwarded to thirt}^- eight lighthouses on the west coast of 
Scotland and the Isles. Twenty-four stations have sent in 
returns, and fourteen have either sent none, or have returned 
blank forms, owing to the scarcity of birds. The stations from 
which co-operation was asked are as follows, commencing with 
the most northerl}^ and those from which returns have been 
received are marked with a * : — 

'J'Cape Wrath, Sutherland ; white and red alt., rev. every minute. J. M'Gill. 
'-i^Rhu Stoir, W. Cromarty ; white, interval 1 minute. William Wither. 
'i^Butt of Lewis, Lewis ; white, fixed. George Edgar. 

Stornoway, Lewis; 2 lights, white, rev. ^ m., & white, fixed. R. Murray. 
*lsland Glass, Harris ; white, fixed. William Lines. 

Ushenish, North Uist; red, fixed. 
^^Monach Island ; same tower, upp. white fl., low. red, fixed. J. Youngclause. 

Barra Head, Barra ; white, interval 2|- minutes. 

Bona, Skye ; white fl., every 12 seconds. David Dunnett. 

Kyleakin, Rosshire; white and red, fixed. David M'Culloch. 
^Isle Ornsay, Skye; white, fixed. David Ross. 
'i^Ardnamurchan Point, Argyleshire ; white, fixed. David Laidlaw. 
Hynish, Skerry vore Signal Tower, Tyree; no lights. f William Crow. 
Skerryvore, off Tyree ; white, revolving every minute. „ 

=:'Dhuheartach, S.W. of Ross of Mull ; white, with red sector, fixed. J. Ewing. 
-:=Sound of Mull, Tobermory ; red, green, & white sectors, fixed. W. M'Lellan. 

Corran Ferry, Loch Eil ; red and white sectors, fixed. Thomas Tulloch. 

Lismore Island, Oban ; white, fixed. 

^Fladda, Easdale ; white, with a red sector, fixed. James Langton. 

:=Rhuvaal, Islay ; white, with red sector, fixed. David Spink. 

-M'Arthur's Head, Islay; white and red sectors, fixed. Thos. Sutherland. 

-Skervuile, Jura; white, revolving every i minute. John Ewing. 

^Rhinns of Islay, Islay ; white fl. every 5 seconds. Andrew Lyall. 

Lochindaul, Islay ; white and red sectors, fixed. William Mail. 

Mull of Kintyre ; white, fixed. James Thompson. 
Sanda, Kintyre Sound ; red, fixed. 

=:'Devaar, Kintyre ; white, revolving every i minute. Charles Black. 

'i-Pladda, Arran ; 2 lights 8 yards apart, white, fixed. Thomas Grierson. 

^Lamlash, Arran ; green, fixed. David Waters. 

t This station included by mistake, but retained for convenience, bracketed with 
the next. 



190 THE ZOOLOGIST. 

Turnberry, Ayrshire ; white fl. every 12 seconds. Charles Black. 
^=Corsewall, Wigtown ; white and red alternate every minute. R. Laidlaw. 
=:=Loch Byan, Wigtown ; white, fixed. Ralph Ewing. 
-i^Portpatrick, Wigtown ; white, fixed. James Beggs. 
':=MuU of Galloway, Wigtown ; white, intervals. M. Morrison. 
'i^Little Ross, Kirkcudbright ; white fl., every 5 seconds. W. A. Mackay. 

Point of Ayre, Isle of Man ; white and red alternate every min. J. Blythe. 

Douglas Head, Isle of Man ; white, fixed. Alexander M'Donald. 

Chickens Rock, Isle of Man ; white, revolving every i minute. 

Thanks are due to the various observers for the careful way 
in which the schedules have been filled in. Excluding the 
Natatores, notes have been taken on about thirty species. 



SEPARATE REPORT OF EACH SPECIES OBSERVED. 

Hawk. — At Dhuheartach on Oct. 5th, two struck lantern at 
8 a.m., light S.E. wind, and haze; and another on the 8th, at 
7 a.m., calm, with fog. At Mull of Galloway, on July I8th, a 
Sparrowhawk was killed at 11 p.m., S.E., light and calm, thick 
haze; and one on Aug. 15th, at 1 a.m., Avind variable, light air, 
fog and haze. 

Ow'L. — 1 have onl}^ two records — one seen at Dhuheartach on 
May 30th, at -4 p.m., wind N.W., fog; and the other at the same 
place on Oct. 20th, at 3 p.m., wind E.S.E., fresh, with haze. 

Swallow, Hirundo rustlca, L. — The most northerly station 
noted this year on our west coast is Rhu Stoir, but two records 
here evidently refer to the spring migration, being June 6th and 
10th, when two were seen on each da3^ The most northerly 
station noted during the autumn migration is Ardnamurchan ; 
thence southwards at Skerry vore, Dhuheartach, Rhuvaal, Sker- 
vuile, Rhinns of Islay, and Loch Ryan. The earliest date on 
which they were recorded is 29th Jul}', when one was seen at 
Dhuheartach at G p.m. ; wind N., fresh, with clear weather. 
The latest record is Sept. 25th, when forty or fifty were seen at 
Rhuvaal, at 4 p.m. ; wind S.W., fresh, with rain. The length of 
time thus occupied by the migration along the west coast of 
Scotland was, approximately, fifty-eight days. The greatest rush 
took place between the 20th Aug. and 25th Sept. ; and, as far as 
shown, at Ardnamurchan and Rhuvaal. At Ardnamurchan, 
twenty rested all night on Aug. 20th, and left in the morning. At 



REPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 191 

Rlinvanl fort}' to fifty were seen, as related above. Swallows 
appeared to migrate principally when the wind is southerly 
(S.W. to S.E.), in light, variable, or fresh head- or side-winds, 
and haz}' weather. Exceptions are found, however, at Dhuhear- 
tach on July SOth, when the wind was N., fresh, and weather 
clear; and at Skerryvore on Aug. 17th, when one appeared at 
the lantern about 10 p.m. (two hours after lighting up) in a N.W. 
light breeze, with showers. Swallows migrate mostly by day, 
resting all night. My returns show that they passed at all hours, 
but mostly before dark. 

Martin, Hirundo urhica. — Martins are noticed at two stations 
only, viz., Butt of Lewis and Corsewall. The migration lasted 
between July 29 th and Aug. 10th, or during eighteen days (but 
data are defective). They travelled during the day, resting around 
tiie hghthouses at night, with S. to S.E. and S.W. winds ; the 
only one killed was when wind was N.N.E., at Corsewall. 

Wren. — The records are few of this species : usually noticed 
on migration in large numbers ; they appeared at Monach Island 
and Dhuheartach. The earliest date is Aug. 17th, when " some" 
struck at 10 p.m., and between that and 3 a.m. ; wind W., and 
haze. The latest date is Dec. 9th, when one was seen at 3 p.m., 
with S.W. breeze, and showers. In fourteen years Mr. Edgar 
never saw a Wren at the Butt of Lewis lighthouse. 

GoLDCREST, Eeguhis cristatus. — At Mull of Galloway on July 
18th, alighting all night and resting. Mr. Edgar's letter of 20th 
Sept. supplies the information that he has never seen Goldcrests 
at the Butt of Lewis — a negative fact of value in tracing their exact 
lines of flight. Perhaps in our next reports observers will state 
in their remarks if any of the species noticed in this one have 
hitherto been rare, or entirely absent from their stations in past 
years. 

Robin. — Appeared at Kyleakin, and thence southwards at 
Skerryvore, Rhuvaal, Skervuile, Rhinns of Islay, and Corsewall. 
The largest number recorded at Corsewall, where fifteen struck 
on Sept. 15th, at 11 p.m.; wind S.W., light breeze, and haze. 
The earliest date is Sept. 10th — one at Skervuile, at midnight ; 
wind S.W., light, and cloudy. The latest is at Rhuvaal, on Dec. 
4th at 9 a.m., when one was seen; wind variable, light breeze, 
clear. Thus, time occupied is between Sept. 10th and Dec. 4th. 
A rush took place in September between lOtli and 21st, but no 



192 THE ZOOLOGIST. 

large numbers are recorded ; in October another rush between 
7th and 18th; on the former date numbers migrated with Larks 
and other species not known, and many were killed and fell into 
the sea at Skervuile. At Skerryvore one seen at 7 p.m. ; wind S., 
fresh, with fog and rain. In September I have records on six 
daj's at four stations; in October two at two stations, and in 
December one at one station — Rlmvaal ; they passed or struck 
mostly at night or morning, but a few through the day ; winds 
mostly southerly, and hazy or foggy ; a few in cloudy and clear. 

Hedgesparrow. — At M'Arthur's Head, on Sept. 28th, one 
struck at 1 a.m. ; wind N.W., strong, with haze and rain. 

Wheatear. — Wheatears or " Stonechecks" are recorded from 
Skerryvore as the most northerly station this year, and thence 
southward at Rhuvaal, Skervuile, Turnberr}-, Corsewall, and 
Mull of Galloway. The earliest appearance noted is on Aug. 
loth, and the latest on Sept. 28th; thus the migration extended 
over forty-four days. The greatest rush was between Aug. 17th 
and 22nd. The migration took place entirely at night, and 
principally with southerly winds — S., S.W., and to W. ; fewer in 
northerly or easterly winds. The favoured stations were Skerry- 
vore, Rhuvaal, and Skervuile. 

Titmice. — ^The negative information that Mr. Edgar never 
saw any Titmice at the Butt of Lewis lighthouse is worthy of 
record. I have notes of their occurrence at M'Arthur's Head and 
Lamlash ; in each case a single bird struck the lantern, Nov. 16th 
and Aug. 17th, at 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. respectively; both during 
west wind, and light air. 

Fieldfare. — Occurred at Monach Island and Douglas Head, 
and is reported as usually seen at Butt of Lewis, though not this 
year. At Monach Island a number struck, and fifteen were 
killed, between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m., on Oct. 21st and 22nd ; wind 
S.W., fresh, and drizzling rain. At Douglas Head one was 
seen on Oct. 16th, at 10 a.m.; wind N., moderate breeze, and 
cloudy. 

Thrush. — The most northern station is, for 1879, Isle 
Ornsay. Mr. Edgar; however, adds the general information that in 
most years the Butt of Lewis yields large numbers at the lantern ; 
thence southward at Skerryvore, Dhuheartach, Rhinns of Isla3% 
Lochindaul, Lamlash, Corsewall, and Point of Ayre. The 
earliest date is Sept. 19tli, when a mixed flock of Thrushes and 



REPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF HIRDS. 193 

Blackbirds passed in variable winds, and clear, at Lamlash. 
The latest date is Dec. 3rd, when "Thrushes" passed Lochindaul 
in the "daytime." But this may be due to local influences and 
hard frost then registered. The next latest date is Nov. 24th, 
when one was seen in the daytime, 2 p.m. ; wund N.E., fresh, 
clear; this would give sixty-six days for the passage, or, taking 
the later date of Dec. 3rd, seventy-six days. The rushes were on 
Sei^. I9th (ut su}}.); a"greatrush" Oct. 21st to 28th. OnOct.21st 
at Point of Ayr, two hundred "along with Blackbirds" seen at 
1.80 p.m. ; wind N. and N.W., strong, clear, with occasional 
showers. Also at the Rhinns of Islay, five seen, and so through 
records of Oct. 22nd, 18th to 28tli, when three hundred "dark 
grey birds larger than a common Thrush ! ! ? " (probably Missel 
Thrush, Turdus viscivorus) were seen at Point of Ayr ; wind 
S.S E., light, and hazy ; and at Skerry vore about fort}' (of which 
ten killed) at 7 p.m. ; wind S.E., light breeze, and haze. 
Thruslies travel with winds from S.E. to S.W. by preference, but 
also with winds from W. to N.E., through N. ; observed most, as 
with most other species at lanterns, in hazy and rainy weather, 
but the great rush took place in "clear, with occasional showers," 
and "hazy and fine." Returns show that out of sixteen dates 
reported upon, only three show a diurnal migration, but one of 
these three is the rush of three hundred " dark grey birds larger 
than a common Thrush "f on Oct. 28th, at Point of Ayr. 

Blackbird. — The northernmost locality is Rhuvaal, wdiere 
one struck on Dec. 1st, at 2 p.m., wind N.E., fresh; thence 
southwards at M' Arthur's Head, Skervuile, Pladda, Lamlash, 
Corsewall, Mull of Gallowa}^ and Point of Ayr. The earliest 
date is Aug. 2Gth, at M' Arthur's Head. The latest date is 
Dec. 1st, at Rhuvaal. The time thus occupied by the migration 
was ninety-seven days. The rushes took place between 13th and 
21st Oct., and the most favoured locality recorded is Point of 
Ayr, where on Oct. 21st two hundred " mixed Thrushes and 
Blackbirds" were seen at 1.30 p.m.; wind N.N.W., strong, and 
clear, with occasional showers. They were visible at the various 
stations in all winds, apparently from W. to E. and from S. to 

t We shall refer to these under " Birds unknown," but we have thought it 
advisable to enter them here also ; they can easily be erased in future comparisons 
if better data come to hand. 

3c 



194 TIIR ZOOLOGIST. 

N.N.W. They appeared at all lionrs of the daj^ and night, but 
most of the records apply to night migration. 

Starling. — The records of the Starling are very general ; the 
most northern station given is Butt of Lewis, where the remark 
is made that they generally strike. This year, however, the most 
northern is Ardnamurchan Point, thence southward at Dhuhear- 
tach, Sound of Mull, M'Arthur's Head, Skervuile, Rhinns of 
Ishiy, Corsewall, Portpatrick, Mull of Galloway, and Point of 
Ayr. The earliest date on record is Aug. 11th, at M'Arthur's 
Head and Loch Ryan ; at the former, one struck at 10 p.m., in 
S. wind, fresh, with haze ; at the latter, two struck at 1 1.80 p.m. ; 
wind E., light, with fog. The latest date is Dec. 18th, when one 
was caught at Skervuile at 11 j).m. ; wind S.W., fresh, with haze. 
Thus the time occupied in passage was one hundred and thirt}' 
days, but the last date may have been due to local influence and 
keen frost at that time registered. The next latest date is Nov. 
23rd, which would make the time spent in passage one hundred 
and four days. Rushes took place more frequently than with 
most species noted; thus, Sept. 19th, Oct. 12th to 25th, and 
Nov. nth and 17th, may all be characterised as dates of rushes. 
The most favoured localities were Corsewall and Portpatrick, for 
frequency of records ; and Ardnamurchan Point, Dhuheartach, 
Portpatrick, and Point of Ayr, for numbers of individuals. 
Starlings do not seem to have any choice of wdnd, as far as 
returns show. We find them migrating with N., W., and S.E. 
winds in almost equal proportions, with a preference — but very 
slight — to W. winds. They also pass or strike in E., S., and 
N.W. winds, but in fewer numbers. We do not think any 
deductions can be drawn from these data. But Starlings breed 
at man}^ of the lighthouses or in their vicinity, so it is not always 
easy to determine whether, in every instance, they are on 
migration or not (as remarked by more than one rej^orter, e.g.j 
Mr. Edgar, at the Butt of Lewis, &c.). Out of seventeen dates 
reported on, only three show migration to have taken place 
during the day, viz., at Portpatrick (in two instances), and 
Ardnamurchan Point (3 p.m. in a gale). 

FiNXHES. — At Dhuheartach on Aug. 24th, one hundred were 
seen and twenty killed between p.m. and 2 a.m., wind N.N.W., 
with haze ; on Oct. 4th, six seen in afternoon, wind light and 
variable, with clear weather ; again, on Oct. 8th, two were killed 



REPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 195 

at 7 a.m., calm, with fog. The above are all the returns of 
'* Finches." 

Linnet. — Onl}^ two records. At Ehuvaal on Sept. 9th, thirty 
to fort}^ old and young, were seen around the lantern at JO a.m. ; 
wind E. to N., breeze to stormy, with haze; and at Lamlash on 
same date and at same hour, fifty were seen ; wind fresh breeze 
from W., and clear. 

Yellowhammer. — At Lamlash on Aug. 17tb, one struck at 
10 a.m., in light W. wind, and fog. 

Snow Bunting. — At Monach Island, farthest north recorded, 
and at Dhuheartach and Corsewall. Earliest appearance Sept. 
19th, when a flock was seen at Monach Island at noon, with S.W. 
light wind, and clear w^eather. Latest date Dec. 10th, when one 
was caught at Corsew^all at 10 p.m. ; wind variable, light, and 
haze; thus, time occupied w^as eighty-two days. A. rush took 
place probably about Sept. 19th, w^hen a flock was seen at 
Monach Island, — but our data are scant3% — and another about 
Nov. 10th, when a flock passed Corsewall. Other dates of record 
are Oct. 10th and 18th; they passed in N.W. and N. winds, in 
clear or cloudy weather ; also in September in S.W., with clear 
weather, and variable wind, with clear or haze. All the records 
are during the night, except one at 12 noon, at Monach Island 
on Sept. 19th; wind S.W., clear. 

Lark. — The most northern station noted this year w^as 
Dhuheartach, and thence southward they are noticed at M^Arthur's 
Head, Skervuile, Ehinns of Islay, Lamlash and Corsewall. The 
earliest date is Aug. 17th, when twenty struck at Dhuheartach 
between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. ; wind W., with haze. The latest 
date is Dec. 6th, when one struck at 9 p.m.; wind S.E., fresh, 
and haze, at Corsewall ; the time thus occupied w^as one hundred 
and twelve days (but the last was no doubt due to the severe 
frost inland at tbat time). The previous date is Nov. 18th, 
which would make the time only seventy-nine days. The greatest 
rush appears to have been in October, about the 12th to 24th, 
but the numbers observed are so small that it is difiicult to 
judge. The locality most favoured was Dhuheartach, whence I 
have returns on eight different dates, between Aug. 17th and 
Nov. 24th. An earlier rush took place about Aug. 17th to 
21st, at Dhuheartach and Skervuile. A later rush about Nov. 
15th to 18th at Dhuheartach, Skervuile, and Rhinns of Islay, 



196 THE ZOOLOGIST. 

but of small dimensions. Larks appear to migrate principally 
when the wind is W. to S.W., or late in the season, when still 
more soutlierl}', say S. Exceptions occur at Dhuheartach on 
Nov. 24, when wind was N.E., fresh, and weather clear; at 
Rhinns of Islay on Nov. 7th, wind N.W., light breeze ; at 
Skervuile on Oct. 10th, when wind was N. ; they migrate in calm, 
variable, light, or fresh winds, and are noticed at lanterns 
principally in haze and fog. They migrate mostly at night, at 
all hours, but the majorit}^ pass between 7.30 p.m. and 4 a.m. 
Those passing during the day were travelling when the wind was 
N. or N.E.; those passing at night when the wind was S. to W. 
So the returns show; but whether this indicates any law of 
migration or not remains to be proved by further observation. 

LArwixG. — The most northern station which they were 
observed to pass at this season was Rhu Stoir ; thence south- 
ward, they are reported at Isle Ornsay, Lochindaul, Devaar, 
Pladda, and Portpatrick. The earliest date given is Aug. aoth, 
when "flocks" were seen during the day in N. wind and clear 
weather; the latest is Dec. 11th, when one was killed at Pladda, 
at 2 a.m., wind S.E., light breeze, with haze. The next latest 
date given is Nov. 14th, when twenty-two were seen at 8.30 a.m. 
at Portpatrick, wind S.E., and haze. The time occupied, therefore, 
this year is from eightj^-six to one hundred and thirteen days. 
Rushes took place about the 20th to 25th August, when several 
flocks passed Isle Ornsay and Lochindaul ; again, Sept. 16th to 
25th, a flock at Devaar, Portpatrick and Chickens Rock ; another 
rush at Rhu Stoir, Portpatrick and Lochindaill about Oct. 2*7 th. 
Lapwings travelled in clear or haze, rain, or showers, principally 
in S. and S.E. winds, on the west coast; but also in N. wind on 
Aug. 20th, and in W. and S.W. at Rhu Stoir and Lochindaul on 
Oct. 23rd and Nov. 1st respectivel3^ They appear to travel 
equally by day and night. 

Plover. — Three stations give returns of this species, viz., 
Skerryvore, Rhinns of Isla}-, and Portpatrick. The earliest date 
is July 27th, at Portpatrick. The latest date is Oct. 18th, at 
Skerryvore. The time thus occupied b}^ the migration was fifty- 
three days. The principal rush took place about the beginning • 
of September, and tlie favoured station was Portpatrick, where 
they were always observed prssing inland with a S. to S.W. wind, 
light or strong breeze, during the daytime. Individuals struck 



REPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 197 

lantern of Rhinns of Islay at night, when wind was N., N.W., 
or S.E. 

Oystercatcher, Hcematojms ostralegiis. — At Isle Ornsay on 
Nov. 18th, one struck at 10.30 p.m. ; wind S., light, with haze, 
and rain. 

Heron. — At Dhutteartach on Oct. 8th, one seen at 7 a.m. ; 
calm, fog. At Rhuvaal, Oct. 1st to 30th, '' Storks" (afterwards 
identified as Herons) passed at 9 a.m. ; wind variable, light, with 
showers. 

Curlew. — Island Glass is the most northern station noted 
for this species; southv\^ards at Dhnheartach, Pladda, Portpatrick 
and the Mull of Gallowa3\ The earliest date recorded is Aug. 3rd, 
when eighteen were seen passing Portpatrick at 10 a.m., wind 
E.S.E., strong breeze, with liaze ; the latest date is Nov. 20th, 
when eight were seen passing Island Glass, ilj'ing southward, at 
2 p.m., wind light S.W., with clear weather Thus the time 
occupied was one hundred and nine days. A rush took place in 
xAtUgust — say 3rd to 26th — and again in November, 15th to 20th. 
Dhuheartach seemed to be a favourite station. Curlews migrated 
in all winds, and '' boxed the compass" from E.S.E., through S. 
to S.W., W. and N.N.W. ; they passed mostly at night. Two 
exceptions were at 10 a.m. on Aug. 3i'd, and 2 p m. on Nov. 20th, 
at Porti^atrick and Island Glass respectively. 

Whimbrels ("Small Curlews"), Nnmenius phceopus. — At 
Lochindahl on Sept. 20th, seen for several days in flocks; wind 
S. to W., and rainy. 

Sandpiper (sp. ?) — At Rhinns of Islay on Aug. 22nd, one 
struck at 1 a.m.; wind S.E., light, and haze. 

Turnstone, Strepsilas interj^res. — At Rhinns of Islay on Nov. 
8th, one struck at night ; wind S.W., fresh, and haze. 

Snipe. — At Isle Ornsay, a single Snipe takes position as the 
northernmost recorded at the lighthouses of the west coast in 
1879, as late as Oct. 20th, killed at 10 p.m.; wind N., clear. 
Thence, records at Skerryvore, Dhuheartach, Rhinns of Isla}', 
Pladda, Mull of Galloway, and Douglas Head. The earliest date, 
Aug. 20th (" sp. not known"), 4 a.m. at Pladda; wind S.E., 
strong breeze, and haze.f As a doubt occurs, next earliest date — 
a long jump later — is Oct. 11th at Rhinns of Islaj^ when one was 
killed between 12 p.m. and 3 a.m. ; wind N., light, with liaze. 

h This may have been a Sandpiper. 



198 THE ZOOLOGIST. 

The latest date is Nov. 15th, when, at Khiiins of Islay, sixteen 
■were killed between 6 p.m. and 4 a.m., wind S., breezes and haze; 
and another record occurs at Pladda. Thus from Oct. 11th to 
Nov. 15th marks thirty-five dn3's for passage. Snipe are thus seen 
to make a rapid passage. (Local migrations occur earlier from 
moors to lowland marshes in Scotland, September always 
producing home-bred birds in our lowland marshes.) Kush of 
foreign birds middle of November, 1879, as far as we can judge ; 
but on Oct. 18tli "numbers" kept about all night round lantern 
of Skerryvore ; wind S.E., light breeze, fog, and rain. Migration 
mostly at night, judging from records, but also by daj'. 

Woodcock. — The northernmost station on west coast in 1879 
is Island Glass ; thence southwards at Dhuheartach, Rhinns of 
Islay, Lochindaul, Devaar, Corsewall, Mull of Gallow^ay, and 
Douglas Head. Small numbers recorded in all cases, except at 
Lochindaul, when about fort,y passed during the da3'time on Dec. 
12th, when the wind w^as variable, light, and the weather clear. 
The earliest date was Oct. 11th ; one killed at Rhinns of Isla}^ at 
10 p.m., wind N., light, clear; the latest Dec. 12th. Too few data 
to fix rushes, except the one in December, which no doubt was 
directly caused by the severe frosts then recorded ; wind N. and 
W., except on two occasions, on Oct. 7th at Douglas Head, wind 
E. ; and on Oct. 30th at Mull of Gallow^ay, wind E. ; and on two 
others, viz., variable and light, when (in the hard frost) the forty 
were seen. 

Corn Crake, Crex pratensis. — Heard for first time at Lochin- 
daul, June 2nd; at Kyleakin, June 9th, wind S.W., clear; and at 
Skerryvore, June 20th, wind strong S.E., with fog. 

Wild Geese (sp. ?). — At Monach Island a flock "mixed old 
and young" passed south at 10 a.m. on Dec. ISth, wind S.S.W., 
fresh breeze, with haze ; this is the most northerl}^ station noted. 
Thence southward the}' were seen at Kyleakin (passing N.W.) at 
8 a.m., wind N.W., fresh breeze, and clear weather; also at 
Sound of Mull, M'Arthur's Head and Devaar. The earliest date 
is Aug. 17th (passing N.W.), and the latest Dec. 15th (twenty-four 
passing W., at Sound of Mull). A migratory movement is thus 
seen to have extended over one hundred and nineteen days. A 
rush took place on Oct. 20th and 21st, at Sound of Mull and 
M'Arthur's Head ; and again on December 18th, 14th and 15th, 
at Monach Island, M'Arthur's Head, and Sound of Mull 



REPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 199 

respectivel}' ; the direction of their flight was usuall}' W. or N.W. 
On Dec. 13th a flock passed S. ; most passed with a S., S.S.W. 
or S.W. breeze, in cloudy or clear weather; in tw^o instances with 
a N.W. w^nd. They were observed during daylight. 

Wild Swan. — At Devaar on Dec. 11th, six seen at 4 p.m., 
light airs, with haze ; and on Jan. 4th, three were seen Hying 
south, in clear weather, at Rhuvaal lighthouse. We say nothing 
of the reported occurrence of Cygniis americanus on our coasts, 
but think the record (p. Ill) premature. 

Wild Duck. — At Butt of Lewis a Duck was killed on Dec. 1st, 
at 8 p.m., wind E., light and clear. Others occurred in November 
and December at Rhuvaal and Devaar. At Rhuvaal, between 
Nov. 1st and 30th, three or four hundred Ducks passed between 
8 a.m. and 3 p.m. ; wind variable, light, and showery weather. 
Most of the migration seems to have been observed through the 
day. In none of the reports are the species identified, being 
described as either " Ducks" or "Wild Ducks." 

Widgeon, Anas penelope. — At Monach Island on Oct. 27th, a 
few were seen at 12 noon; wind S.S.E., fresh, and clear. 

Sheldrake, Tadorna vidpanser. — At Pladda, on May 23rd, 
six (tw^o males and four females) seen at 1 p.m., wind N.E., light, 
and haze; remained on the island till the middle of June. 

Eider Duck. — At Rhu Stoir on June 30th, two males and 
two females seen at 11 a.m.; wind S., fresh breeze, showers. At 
Dhuheartach on Dec. 3rd, twenty seen at 10 p.m. ; wind N.E., 
light, clear. At Devaar on Dec. 13th, twelve seen at 1 p.m. ; 
wind N.N.W., light breeze, haze. 

Storm Petrel. — At Butt of Lewis in July, August, and 
September, an occasional bird at the glass, always at night, 
always in hazy or rainy weather, generally "haze and rain" 
together ; wind in three out of four instances S.W., and once on 
July 3rd, W.N.W., stormy. At Rhu Stoir a good many were 
observed "not on passage"' betw^een 17th and 20th Aug. between 
6 p.m. and 10 p.m., wind N. to E., light, haze and rain; and at 
Rhinus of Islay on Sept. 17th, one struck at 2 a.m., wind S., 
light, and haze. 

Sea-fowl. — The following notes upon sea-fowl as observed at 
several stations — notabl}^ at Cape Wrath — will, we think, prove 
interesting : — At Cape Wrath, Mr. M'Gill reports all the sea-fowl 
as deserting their breeding-haunts there on Aug. ICth, and both 



200 THE ZOOLOGIST. 

old and young flying westwards. He roughly estimated the 
numbers which passed witliin his ken as follows : — 300 to 400 
Guillemots, 800 to 900 Razorbills, 800 to 900 Puffins, 100 Scarts, 
and 300 Sea-gulls. This was performed in an east wind, during 
hazy or rain}' weather (see also under Solan Goose), and all left 
Cape Wrath in one da}' and about the same time, viz., 10 a.m. 
Tlie Gulls passed continuously between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. 
Notes from other stations can liardly be considered as applying 
to anything but local dail}' migration in search of food, as is 
constantly witnessed at any rock-bird station on the coast ; thus, 
at Rhu Stoir large numbers passed towards S.W., and are 
specially noted on June 12th to 15th; also at Kyleakin, a large 
flock passed southward at 2 p.m., wind S.E. When at the Shiant 
Isles this summer, at the end of June, I witnessed a regular 
dei)arture of thousands of Puffins to their feeding-grounds in the 
Little Minch, about 9 to 10 a.m. 

Sea Gulls. — At Cape Wrath on Aug. 10th, three hundred 
passed west between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. ; wind E., haze, and rain. 
*'Sea Gulls bred at the station, and all left on the same day, both 
young and old. The migration goes all to the west." 

KiTTiwAKE, Rissa tridactyla. — At Skervuile on May 31st, two 
at noon flying north ; calm, clear. 

Tern. — At Dhuheartach, six seen on the evening of Aug. 27th, 
wind S., cloudy ; and four at the same station on the morning of 
Sept. 4th. 

Birds unknown. — At Portpatrick on July 12th, a flock of 
small birds passed overhead at 8.30 a.m., wind S.S.E., fresh, 
and rainy ; and on Oct. 13th a flock passed inland at 4.20 p.m., 
wdnd S.W., and rain ; on Nov. 13tli "a flock of birds not known" 
passed inland, wind E. by N., and clear. At Pladda on Aug. 20th, 
one Snipe, species not known, at 4 a.m., wind S.E., strong, and 
haze; and another on Nov. loth-. xVt Skervuile, on Nov. 14th, 
a number from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., wind variable, light, and haze; 
and others on Oct. 7th at Skervuile; "many killed and fell into 
the sea." 

Red-breasted Merganser. — At Corsewall, on Jul}- 20th, a 
"strange Duck" (since identified as a Red-breasted Merganser) 
was killed at glass at 2 a.m. ; wind E., light, with haze. 

Solan Goose, Sula hassana, — At Cape Wrath and other 
stations upon our coasts, an extraordinary annual migration of 



REPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 



201 



Solan Geese is witnessed. Mr. M'Gill has reported to me 
speciall}^ on that of 1879, and kept as accurate a record as 
possible of the numbers wliich he estimated to pass westward. 
He writes as follows : — " The number of Solan Geese that 
migrate past Cape Wrath is beyond anyone's power to number, 
but I have come as near to it as possible. The first half of July 
the flocks were composed of old birds, and the rest of the time 
they were mixed old and young." Mr. M'Gill then gives the 
following list of Solan Geese seen passing west on fifteen days, 
between 14th July and 9th August, which I reproduce here : — 



July 14th. 

„ 15th. 

„ 16th. 

„ 22nd. 

„ 24lh. 

„ 26th. 

„ 28Lh. 

„ 31st. 
Aug. 1st. 

„ 3rd. 

„ 4th. 

„ 5th. 

„ 7th. 

„ 8th. 

„ 9th. 



600 to 700. 
200. 

40 to 90. 
200 to 400. 
100 to 200. 
300 to 400. 

90 to 100. 

60 to 80. 
100 to 300. 
300 to 400. 

60 to 70. 

20 to 

40 to 

20 to 

20. 



30. 
50. 
40. 



9 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

9 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

J 2 noon to 7 p.m. 

10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
8 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

8 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

8 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 



Wind E. Clear. 

„ E. Haze. 

„ E. Haze. 
„ N.-N.E. Fog, rain. 

„ S.W. Clear. 

„ S.W. Haze. 

„ S.W. Haze, rain. 

,, S. Haze, showers. 

,, W. Haze, rain. 

„ E. Clear. 

„ E. Fog, clear. 

„ N.E. Fog, rain. 

„ N. Fog, rain. 

„ N. Fog, rain. 

„ N. Haze. 



Thus it will be seen that from 2150 to 3080 were estimated to 
pass westward within view of Cape Wrath, between July 14th and 
August 9th, during fifteen days occupied on migration. All 
which were observed passed during the day — say between 7 a.m. 
and 10 p.m. — and apparently in all winds and weather. From 
the Butt of Lewis Mr. Edgar supplies the general information 
that the Solan Geese pass the station, arriving first in Ma}', and 
leaving in the latter end of October, but giving no particulars as 
to direction of flight. At Mull of Galloway Solan Geese are 
reported as passing, on July 19th, in flocks. Mr. N. B. Morrison 
reports as follows : — " Saw them flying past to W.S.W. in wedge- 
shaped flocks as if on a passage, or changing locality." This was 
during the forenoon; wind S., light, and haze. "At 1 p.m. it 
began to rain, and continued for twentj^-four hours ; rain guage 
at 9 a.m. of 20th, 1*72 inches. On 21st, 22nd, 23rd, and 24th, 

2d 



202 THE ZOOLOGIST. 

very strong breeze, and showers ; wind W.N.W. to S.W." Again 
at same station (Mull of Galloway) flocks continued passing all 
day ; wind S.E., fresh, fog, and rain, flying in same direction. 
On 8th and 9th, wind S., gale; 10th, wind W., strong. In a 
later note Mr. M'Gill believes " that the Solan Geese strike the 
land first at Cape Wrath," and that the Geese which pass it are 
from Suliskerry. 

On the west coast of Scotland, also, man}^ observers make 
particular mention of the scarcity of autumnal migrants in 1879. 
At several principal and important stations this scarcity is of 
course most remarked upon, such as Butt of Lewis, ^lonach 
Island, Island Glass, Skerrj^vore, and Dhuheartach. During long 
experience at these and other stations, the several observers do 
not remember such great scarcity of birds during the autumn 
migration. From other observers' remarks it would appear that 
several of the west coast stations are not suitable for observations 
being made, from their land-locked situations or other local 
influences, such as Kyleakin, Sound of Mull, Corran Ferry, and 
others. 

Many birds are killed at the lanterns of the more isolated 
lighthouses and are blown into the sea. Thus, in 1877, at 
Skerryvore, in the month of October, the number of birds killed 
was six hundred, chiefly the Common and "Mountain Thrush" 
(Ring Ouzel), but including also Blackbirds, Snipes, Larks, and 
one Wild Duck. The observer, Mr. W. Crow, was of opinion 
that about two hundred more were killed and blo'wn into the sea. 
They came every night from the 1st to the 6th, about 8 p.m., 
and went away at daylight. '' I would estimate," he says, " the 
number about the light on each of the above nights to be about 
a thousand." The direction of the wind was from S.S.E. to S., 
wdth haze ; and no migration of birj^s was observed during the 
day. On Dhuheartach lighthouse rock, " two Hawks are seen 
every morning" while the migration lasts, which come to prey 
upon the small birds resting on the rock. A considerable fligiit of 
migrants took place about Oct. 7th, as upon the east coast. 

The direction of the flight of migrants aj^pears to be from 
east to west at the north coast stations, but from N.W. and 
N.N.W. to S.W. or S.S.W. at the stations farther south; and 
this is borne out by previous observations in former years by my 



REPORT ON THE MIGRATION OF BIRDS. 203 

west coast observers at Tyree and elsewhere. Our observers 
have not usually reported the direction taken by the migrants, 
but there are enough data to prove the above lines. It would 
appear, therefore, that birds when passing from east to west 
often overshoot the land, and are compelled to turn back upon 
a new course, according to the direction of the wind. In 
1878, Mr. W. Boyd (since deceased) wrote regarding the migra- 
tion in Mull as follows : — " In the month of October I was 
fishing on Loch Assapol, near Bunessan. Almost every day 
I saw flock after flock of little birds — Larks, Buntings, Robins, 
and even Wrens — flying across the loch. All these birds were 
steering the same course, having apparently come from the 
outlying Hebrides, via Tyree, lona, up the Rose of Mull, and 
were steering for the mainland. Fresh arrivals of different 
species of Ducks rested and then passed on. Wild Swans and 
Geese were seen far up in the air, all taking a bee-line for the 
south." On another occasion Mr. Boyd visited Tyree in 
December, 1878, and both he and a companion remarked "the 
extraordinary scarcity of common birds, and the unusual number 
of winter visitors. One day every Snipe they put up, instead of 
flying a bit and settling again, rose high in air, and went off due 
south-east as far as they could see, right across the sea, to Mull. 
The remark was then made, " The sooner we go south for powder 
and provisions the better ; we are going to have an arctic winter," 
which, as is well remembered, was a perfectly correct surmise. 
It will thus be seen that the flights of wildfowl almost invariably 
are from N. to S. on both coasts, but that the smaller birds — 
land birds — as they fly lower, are more influenced by the 
configuration of the coast-lines, and also, no doubt, by the 
direction of the wind at the time. Our data are at present too- 
scanty to lay down with precision the minutise of their lines of 
flight, but another year's observations will probably greatly assist 
us. The same rules, as to time of day or night at which birds 
strike the lantern, holds upon the west coast which also obtain 
on the east, and the same remarks as to weather also hold good. 

The above remarks upon the direction of the flights upon our 
west coast may prove of value in a comparison with Mr. 
Cordeaux*s notes upon the direction of the flights at the 
Galloper Bank. We are aware here that birds pass overland on 
migration, crossing Scotland between the Firths of Clyde and 



204 THE ZOOLOGIST. 

Forth, as they have been heard on calm nights crj-ing as'thej^ 
passed over from W. to E., or from points N. of W. to points S. 
of E. ; and da3'-flights have often been observed passing h^re 
from N.N.W. towards S.S.E., or from N.W. to S.W. I would 
instance here Brainblings, Fringilla montif ring ilia, natives of 
Northern Europe. (See Gray's ' Birds of the West of Scotland,' 
p. 137. The "colmnn" of Bramblings there described as on 
migration were not ''proceeding in a north-easterly direction," 
however, as stated by Mr. Gray, but were coming from a north- 
westerly direction, and were proceeding in a south-easterly 
direction.) 



I 

NOTES ON THE ORNITHOLOGY OF THE BRITISH 

POLAR EXPEDITION, 1875-6. 

By Henry Chichester Hart, 
Naturalist on Board H.M.S. ' Discover}'.' 

(Continued from p. 129.) 

Sanderlixg. — Calidris arenaria. — On the 10th August, 1875, 
I saw six or seven Sanderlings near AValrus Island, in lat. 70° 25'. 
In Discovery Bay they were very rare. On the 1st June, on the 
27th July, and on the 12th August, 187 6, single specimens were 
seen. On August 22nd I saw a few in Rawlings Bay, lat. 80° 22'; 
and on the 7th September I saw a few in the same locality, as 
on the 10th of the previous August. I was not able to obtain 
a nest of this species, though m}^ colleague, Capt. Feilden, found 
one on June 21th, in lat. 82" 33' N. (' Ibis,' 1877, p. 406). Dr. Cop- 
pinger thought Sanderlings were common, and breeding, in Polaris 
Bay. 

Red-necked Phalarope, Phalarojms hypevhoreus. — Upon the 
9th and 10th July I saw several pairs of this Phalarope at Blase 
Dalen Lake in Disco. They were breeding amongst sedges on 
its shores in company with the Lapland Bunting and the Long- 
tailed Duck. I watched them for some time ; they are extremely 
graceful in their movements upon the water, and while swimming 
about in search of minute aquatic insects were quite fearless, 
coming to within a foot or two of the bank whereon I stood. 
I found one nest, a loose fabric of grasses and sedges, on the 
ground amongst tufts of Carex frigida and C fuliginosa. It 



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